Residence hall furniture finds new purpose in homeless shelter

furniture is loaded from residence hall

Furniture from John Ballantyne residence hall is loaded up to be taken to the city of Manteca. (Dec. 16, 2022)

Furniture from one of University of the Pacific’s residence halls is being put to new use in a homeless shelter in the city of Manteca, located south of the Stockton Campus. 

Pacific recently donated 100 wooden bed frames, dressers and desks.

“We are so grateful,” said Manteca mayor-elect Gary Singh ’04. “Being a Pacific alumnus, it's great to see my university help the community … It is a huge cost that we are saving.”

The furniture came from John Ballantyne residence hall, which will be undergoing extensive renovations this month.

“The university is doing a full remodel on all of the Quads (a group of residential communities), and we did not want the old furniture to go the landfill,” said Josh O’Connor, executive director for Student Life. “It's a win-win. We get to repurpose the furniture and the shelter gets beds.” 

In addition to supporting the community, Pacific also is committed to reducing waste. Donating the beds will prevent 4,800 pounds of waste from ending up in the landfill.

“This effort demonstrates that tackling sustainability is part of everyone’s work at Pacific,” said Sustainability Director Jessica Bilecki. 

When renovations begin on the remaining residential buildings in the Quads, several hundred additional sets of furniture also will be available. 

Student Life is exploring other nonprofits and shelters in the area that may be able to use the furniture when it becomes available.

“We like to keep it local to support our community,” O’Connor said.

Manteca’s new homeless navigation center, which is being built with a $16 million state grant, will be a one-stop shop in which people can get help with services such as mental health and job placement.

“One of the biggest issues we see with homeless individuals is that there are other issues. It's not just about shelter or food. This center really is looking at helping them navigate to become independent again,” Singh said.

The building is expected to be ready in about a year and a half. Until then, the furniture will be used in temporary facilities being installed in the city’s industrial area.