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New shelter could house a third of Stockton’s homeless population

By Esteban Reynoso

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    STOCKTON (KOVR) — Construction is underway for a new shelter in Stockton that could house around a third of the city’s homeless population.

The $17 million project has been in the works for years now. It’s called the Pathways Modular Unit and aims to go from groundbreaking Friday to a grand opening this fall.

“Everyone is human. We didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Hey, look. I want to be homeless,’ ” Owen Palmer said.

Palmer is a recent hire with St. Mary’s Community Services in Stockton. He’s a part of their encampment outreach program.

He hits the streets to try and connect anyone who is unhoused to help they may want or need. Up until recently, he was living on the streets.

“What or where do you think you would be if it wasn’t for their help?” I asked.

“Probably dead,” he responded. “Or living under a bridge somewhere.”

Palmer said the shelters at St. Mary’s helped him come a long way. Now, the land that stood empty for several years right across the street from the dining hall is going to be revitalized into the new shelter space.

This is to try and provide better help to the 900 total homeless people across the city of Stockton. This new shelter space would be able to house 300 individuals for the time being.

Petra Linden is the CEO of St. Mary’s Community Services and said the future buildings could double their shelter space.

“Based on that, we’ll be serving around 600 individuals a year,” Linden said. “For some individuals, we’re able to work with them, get them through case management and get them directly into housing.”

The long-term goal is long-term housing and, ultimately, more stories like Palmer’s.

“That’s what makes me feel good about working here,” Palmer said. “Because I know I can give back to people here because I’ve been where they’re at.”

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