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Some Residents Don’t Want Homeless Bad Weather Shelter in Their Neighborhood

Published on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | 5:51 am

Residents living near the site where a new bad weather shelter will operate told the City Council on Monday they did not want the shelter in their neighborhood.

“That is something most of my neighbors are against,” said Sylvia Hernandez. “Our entire neighborhood is constantly being filled with trash and feces, with urine, with vomit. It’s just intolerable.”

Hernandez was just one of several people who live in the District 5 neighborhood that oppose the shelter.

The Council approved contracts to operate a Bad Weather Shelter at Trinity Lutheran Church, 997 E. Walnut Street.

The shelter will operate on nights when the temperature falls to 40 degrees or less or there is a 40% chance of rain forecast.

The winter shelter operator will be required to provide low-barrier, safe and supportive congregate emergency shelter to single adults experiencing homelessness to protect them from inclement weather.

As part of the last homeless count, volunteers counted 556 people experiencing homelessness, up from 512 people in the previous count. 

While the exact number of people without homes on any given night fluctuates, 556 people were unhoused on the night of the 2023 Homeless Count, a 9% increase over 2022,”the city’s report read,

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pasadena’s seasonal winter shelter (the Bad Weather Shelter) was operated by Friends In Deed for over 30 years out of a local church gym.

After over three decades, Friends In Deed lost its long-time lease of a church gym in March 2020. 

On Monday, the City Council unanimously approved several contracts to make way for the shelter.

“I’m a firm believer in the separation of church and state,” said Theresa Prevatil. “It would appear the only true beneficiaries of this emergency winter shelter are the ones that would lose their job and their source of income if the homeless problem was eliminated. What this program would accomplish is lowering our property value and increasing homelessness in our area.”

Other neighbors claim they regularly experience people regularly selling drugs and people wailing in the neighborhood and that the police will not come out unless an incident is occurring on private property.

“These issues don’t exist west of Lake,” one neighbor said. 

“These issues exist because of the free food from Salvation Army as well as free food from the Lutheran Church access to the open air drug market. These issues need to be addressed before we bring people in on occasion to a cold weather shelter.”

In response to the neighbors’ concerns, Mayor Victor Gordo asked a report on safety be conducted in the future.

Prior to selecting the site, the City did outreach to local residents and stakeholders in the area. 

Two community meetings were held in the church gym where the shelter would be located on September 12 and September 21, to engage surrounding residents and businesses about the proposed use of the property and hear concerns.

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