SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — One San Jose neighborhood is fighting a plan to get the homeless off the streets.
The project involves building a 162-unit complex for the homeless on Senter Road. The next step is up to the city council.
But opponents fear the project will flood their neighborhoods with people suffering not only from homelessness but from serious mental health and substance abuse issues as well.
Neighbor Bruce Sullivan said, “Essentially, it’s permanent housing for the worst of the worst.”
He sees it as a big experiment that is set up to fail.
Sullivan is part of a group of neighbors trying to convince the San Jose City Council to reverse itself and vote to block construction of the facility.
Neighbor Dilbert Ng said, “I do support the programs to help the chronically homeless because they do need help. But plopped down right in the middle of a neighborhood is not conducive for safety.”
Homeless advocates say the project won’t be the scourge neighbors fear. They say housing in combination with medical, mental health and substance abuse services will help the men and women living there to transition back into society.
Anthony T. King, an advocate for the homeless, said “Housing first helps provide a stable environment for them to address all their other needs. I mean it’s been proven throughout our country. It’s been proven in Canada.”
Faced with growing opposition in his district, where the project would be built, San Jose City Councilman Tam Nguyen now says he plans to vote against it.
Nguyen said that residents came to him asking a lot of questions for which he wasn’t able to find answers.
“And that’s a problem,” Nguyen said.
But it’s not clear if that will be enough to sway a council looking for solutions to the city’s homeless crisis.
The San Jose City Council will hear the neighbors’ appeal at its meeting Tuesday.