FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Michael Sanz became emotional Tuesday night outside a Fremont city council meeting about where city leaders are considering building a homeless shelter.

“So the question I wanted to pose to the council people is, are they accountable for what may happen to the kids as they pass by this place, have they thought about that?” Sanz said.

City leaders want to build a navigation center, which would serve as a shelter and provide services to help clients find long term housing, at Niles Discovery Church off of Nursery Avenue. The center would help 45 people at a time for a maximum of six months each.

Sanz said he lives a quarter mile away from the church, which is less than a half mile away from an elementary school. He said children walk past the church every day of the school year.

“This is not the place for this solution,” he said. “Who knows what’s going to happen or what could happen?”

The homeless population in Alameda County has increased 43 percent in the last two years, according to a city report. Last month, KPIX reported that several homeless people in Fremont were now living in trees.

Hayes Shair, who is part of the group called “Yes In My Backyard,” set up a table outside the special council meeting to spread their own message to those opposed to the idea of the Navigation Center.

“There’s obviously no perfect site, everything is a series of trade offs, and our response is if not there, than where,” said Hayes.

City leaders said besides the church, they are also considering two other locations, including a future BART station site and the city’s maintenance center. Sanz said he believes that a solution needs to be found to help the homeless, but the church should not be the site.

“That’s really the question. ‘Are you willing to take that risk?'” he said.

Comments (4)
  1. Jenny Kassan says:

    This reporting is not correct. The reporter says the council is considering three locations. The reality is that we have not yet decided on a list of potential locations. This meeting was just to list criteria for choosing a location. – Jenny Kassan, Fremont City Council Member.

  2. Edwin Sutanto says:

    based on the the list, a dozen or so potential locations will be identified, right? that’s what I got from the meeting.

  3. Gokul Bala says:

    Dear Ms. Kassan,

    Thank you for taking time to respond to this news article.

    As a follow up to your note, may I request you to visit the website of Niles Discovery Church? Contrary to your claim, it looks like the City has already zeroed in at Niles Discovery Chrurch as one of the locations and are in talks. Please look into the link below:

    This posting has been there for a while now and the last update as it suggests, was made in May 15th even before the City Council meeting. oops looks like someone has been exposed!
    Sounds like a classic scam in the making. Can the city produce a white paper summarizing all the interactions/discussions they have had with the church?

    May I ask if anyone in the city council is ready for an open debate outside the city hall with our community. Council Member Yang Shao has gone offline on this topic and is missing from action. Could you please help us connect with him for an audience where he can meet people at the ground rather than sitting at the high pedestal in the city hall and looking down on us with utter disregard?

    The trust is clearly broken. It would be nice if someone comes out clean – till then, the community will stand together and voice out across all platforms available, for the truth to come out.


    1. Jenny Kassan says:

      For the latest list of locations we are considering, please visit