Fifth Street now primary location for homeless respite center

Fifth Street now primary location for homeless respite center

Photo Credits: QUINN SPOONER / AGGIE. A location for a proposed homeless center faces opposition due to it being situated under the Dave Pelz bike overcrossing in Davis, Calif.

Concerns from community members about Second Street location addressed during Davis City Council meeting

The Davis City Council has moved the planned respite center for the homeless to a corporate yard on Fifth Street, after listening to concerns from the community about its original location on Second Street. 

The topic was discussed during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, where a number of community members voiced their opinions about the proposed Second Street site. The site is located on city-owned land under the Dave Pelz bicycle overpass. 

Several community members expressed their support for the project, including members from local church groups who volunteer with the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter.

Other community members, including residents of Mace Ranch, voiced their disapproval of the site chosen during a council meeting in July. 

Among their concerns was the safety of community members using the bike overpass, the center’s distance from downtown and the cost associated with building the project. These points were also stated in a petition, which gained over 400 signatures.

“While we feel strongly that the issue of homelessness must be addressed in every city, we also believe that the safety of our children drastically outweighs the benefits of this proposed location,” wrote Yingzhi Lu, the publisher of the petition. 

Mayor Brett Lee highlighted that a daytime shelter would bring an aspect of security and surveillance to the community. 

“Some of the folks have potentially serious addiction issues or mental health issues,” Lee said. “The proposal is for there to be 24/7 supervision, so whenever there are people on site, there would be a staff person on site as well. If anything, this will increase the availability and supervision — in a way that should address the community’s concerns.”

Following recommendations made by city staff and responses from the community, the Davis City Council shifted its focus to 1717 Fifth St. as the new location for the respite center. Lee supported the Fifth Street location during the meeting and emphasized a sense of urgency.

“I would like to see something happen prior to the rainy season,” Lee said. “For that reason, I suggest that we use the east end of the corporate yard on Fifth Street — so 1717 — and that we, with all speed possible, develop a daytime respite center in time for this winter.” 

Although the plan for the daytime respite center is continuing with the new location, the status of an overnight facility remains unclear. Gloria Partida, the mayor pro tempore on the Davis City Council, mentioned a needed focus on the overnight facility. 

“Hopefully, while we’re in the process of figuring out the day site, we can continue working on the night portion of this because I think that is also very important,” Partida said. 

Davis Community Meals and Housing currently has a daytime shelter in Davis with a few overnight beds. In the winter, the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter provides a place to stay for those needing shelter. 

Lee emphasized that the respite center would give additional support to the current services and hopefully provide more beds before the completion of Paul’s Place, a large overnight facility for the homeless that is underway.

“Part of the reason for the pilot is to prove that the city can manage a facility like this, and keep it as a well-organized, well-run project,” Lee said. “So we have examples of non-profits that are able to do that, and they’re doing a great job. This isn’t to take away from the good work that nonprofits are doing, but the need is much bigger than any one non-profit can do.”

Written by: Madeleine Payne — city@theaggie.org