Capitol Alert

Newsom’s homeless task force coming to Modesto and public can attend meeting

Homeless people line up outside The Salvation Army’s Berberian Shelter and Transitional Living Center in Modesto, Calif., Friday, May 17, 2019.
Homeless people line up outside The Salvation Army’s Berberian Shelter and Transitional Living Center in Modesto, Calif., Friday, May 17, 2019. aalfaro@modbee.com

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness will be in Modesto on Friday for its inaugural meeting, and the public can attend the morning session.

The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stanislaus Veterans Center, which is in the Sylvan Center Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Coffee Road and Sylvan Avenue.

The public can attend the morning session, which is expected to conclude around 12:30 p.m., according to the governor’s press office. The afternoon session is not open to the public.

Newsom formed his Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force in May. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas serve as its chairmen.

The task force “will meet a number of times throughout the year in cities and counties around the state to observe best practices firsthand and receive input from governments and constituents statewide to propose solutions to address the homelessness epidemic,” according to the May 21 news release announcing the panel’s formation.

Stanislaus County spokeswoman Amy Vickery said the speakers at Friday’s event include Board of Supervisors Chairman Terry Withrow, City Manager Joe Lopez, Stanislaus Community Foundation President-CEO Marian Kaanon, county Deputy Executive Officer Ruben Imperial and county Chief Operations Officer Patty Hill Thomas.

Other details about the meeting were not immediately available. The governor’s press office said Newsom will not attend, but “senior representatives from his staff” will be here.

Stanislaus County, Modesto and their community partners have drawn statewide notice for their efforts to deal with the homelessness crisis and in particular their response to a September 2018 federal court ruling that said it was cruel and unusual punishment to prosecute people who sleep in parks and other public property when they don’t have a choice, such as an available bed in a shelter.

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Kevin Valine covers local government, homelessness and general assignment for The Modesto Bee. He is a graduate of San Jose State University and grew up in San Jose.
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