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Summit Aims To Assist Local Homeless Residents
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Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien leads the discussion at his Non-Profit Summit held on Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Teen Center. More than 20 representatives from local organizations and governmental agencies attended. Ric McGinnis/The News
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Mayor Richard O’Brien addresses an audience assembled for his seventh annual Non-Profit Summit. The Feb. 21 event, at the Riverbank Teen Center, gathered governmental representatives along with those of local service agencies trying to further efforts to assist, house, feed, and find employment for homeless people in town. Ric McGinnis/The News

Representatives from local governmental agencies as well as non-profit service agencies in town met recently to put together a plan to help homeless people here.

The summit was organized by Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien, the seventh he has hosted while in office, held on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Teen Center in downtown. In the past, it has been held in the Community Center, but this year it is closed for renovation.

Attendees represented local government groups and non-governmental organizations. They included Christian Food Sharing, Assembly of God, Catholic Charities, the Women’s Club, as well as Golden Valley Health Center, to name just a few.

They also included Riverbank Police Chief Erin Kiely, City Manager Sean Scully, and city staff members, and City Council member Luis Uribe.

The hour long gathering gave attendees the opportunity to talk about their programs, but its main focus was on local efforts to help the homeless here.

The discussion centered on beginning a program here similar to one that is in nearby Patterson.

There, they have created a shelter, now serving only men, but soon to be expanded to reach women who are homeless, too. A representative was in attendance to describe the process they used and how effective it has been for the community.

Mayor O’Brien said that he hopes to get the assistance of those groups and organizations present to help create a similar facility somewhere here.

There was discussion on the programs that might be offered, with the Mayor saying it was hoped to be a place where the people would find shelter, food, different kinds of training, as well as assistance from some of the organizations at the meeting.

During discussions, the mayor mentioned the recent state/countywide count of the homeless. He said the official total here in Riverbank was determined to be 24 people, but also indicated that the true total might really be closer to 38.

In the meeting, O’Brien also asked the organizations to keep city hall informed about their programs so that they might stay coordinated, making sure to avoid duplication of services and conflicts in scheduling.