WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) — The temporary relocation of an East Bay homeless shelter to a different part of downtown Walnut Creek has some nearby residents and businesses resisting the idea.
The proposed temporary shelter location would be at a shopping center near Botelho Drive and California Boulevard.READ MORE: San Francisco-Based Airbnb Reports Huge 4th-Quarter Loss
Every day at Trinity Center Homeless Shelter in Walnut Creek, a few dozen people come filing in for a hot lunch.
“Some square meals, a chance to do laundry, a shower,” explained Trinity Center board member Rev. Jeff Dodge. “The basic things we take for granted as people with homes.”
But the Trinity Center won’t look like this for long. There are big plans to shut the shelter down in January so it can be revamped.
“This is the basically the best possible location to relocate temporarily for a short period of time so that we can do the demolition, build St. Paul’s Commons,” said Dodge.
The demolition and construction would take 18 months. In the meantime, the day shelter would run out of this abandoned building in downtown Walnut Creek. But some neighbors say 18 months is too long.
Darin Ritz, whose apartment overlooks the building where the temporary shelter would be, is not happy about the idea.READ MORE: California Allocates $1.4 Million To Track And Stop Attacks Against Asian Americans
“I’d rather not have that there,” said Ritz. “I’m going to be sick to my stomach if there are a bunch of homeless people congregating over where I go get frozen yogurt and go get a burger.”
Bill Stopford, another area resident, also worries the shelter could transform Walnut Creek into a magnet for the homeless.
“I’d just prefer that they lay their head in another town besides coming to our town to lay their head. And I have no problem providing money for them,” said Stopford. “I just don’t want them in our town.”
There are those locals who support the day shelter, like Walnut Creek resident Lauren Helling.
“They’re here. They’re not going anywhere, so why not extend a hand and help them out?” asked Helling. “It doesn’t bother me in the slightest.”
Trinity Center staff said they’re working closely with Walnut Creek police to address any safety issues. If the city opposes their plans, they may have to lay off staff and close altogether during construction, leaving the homeless with nowhere to go.MORE NEWS: VIDEO: Woman Dragged By Car In Oakland Chinatown After Having Purse Snatched
“It will only negatively impact Walnut Creek’s welfare,” said Dodge.