Stockton, California, May 1, 2012 – Men gather to smoke in the outside yard of the men's shelter at the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. While there are no statistics for the city’s homeless population, those below poverty level were at 29.3% in 2009, and a third of those were below 50% of the poverty level.
The shelter provides three year-around shelters, plus a fourth open during the winter months. There is a 25-room family shelter including room for single women, a single men’s shelter providing bunk beds for up to 150, an HIV/AIDS shelter as well as a day-time drop in center offering a respite from the streets. According to Case Manager Linda Haworth, the facilities have been at or over capacity for the past two years.
Stockton, a city of nearly 300,000 with strong agricultural roots, has been plagued by crime and misfortune over the past several decades. It saw home construction soar nearly three times over during the boom years from 1998 to 2005, only to fall just as precipitously to become a foreclosure epicenter when the boom turned to bust. In June of this year it became the largest city to file for bankruptcy.