While I’m sympathetic to the plight of our South County homeless and have supported and donated to the Five Cities Homeless Coalition, I’m very much opposed to the development of a homeless shelter at the Hillside Church location on Newport Avenue. This is being presented by all the stakeholders involved as a single joint project between the Five Cities Homeless Coalition and Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.
This is a very disingenuous proposition by all the parties supporting the project. They should present it for what it is, a homeless shelter with accompanying staff offices in a residential neighborhood and not part of the Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. The Hillside Church is in a residential (R-1) neighborhood, three blocks from Ocean View Elementary School, and within two blocks of a senior apartment housing complex.
The neighborhood already has existing issues with this facility being used as a warming shelter for the last couple of years. The impact of this project will affect every resident within a 10 block radius or further of Hillside Church.
Residents need to stand up and oppose this poor location. In closing, a good alternative location would be the abandoned Five Cities Medical Center on Fouth Street. It is a large building, has ample parking, is close to transit lines and facilities, and zoned more correctly.
Paul C. Hertel, Arroyo Grande
Bad spot for homeless housing
On Feb. 19, the Grover Beach City Council approved the Hillside Church Development Plan to move forward on applying for a $4.8 million grant. The grant allows the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition and People’s Self-Help Housing to purchase the church on Newport Avenue and convert it to transitional housing: 11 rooms (44 beds) for homeless youth, a warming shelter, offices and 20 housing units.
Land use will also be amended from low-density residential to neighborhood commercial.
An outreach of this size and scope doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood near an elementary school. It is mixing, in a close proximity, two very different populations without consideration for how this will impact the safety and quality of the neighborhood.
This church location has been a warming shelter for the past two years. We live adjacent to the church with our three small children. There have been ongoing issues with loitering, verbal confrontation and public urination. Other neighbors report regularly finding used syringes and broken glass while walking their dogs or pushing strollers. We need an alternate location that supports the safety of all citizens.
Mark Rose, Grover Beach