Salinas homeless shelter debates continues

Planned protest outside housing committee meeting

Salinas homeless shelter debate continues

SALINAS, Calif. - The debate over housing the homeless could change the look of the Salinas City Council. 

Creekbridge United, a group which has led several demonstrations against the two homeless facility locations, has submitted submitted paperwork to recall their councilman, Tony Villegas. 

Speaking with Villegas, Tuesday, he says making him leave office won't change anything. 

"They're going to have to recall three or four more people on the city council. They had strong support for this. It passed 6 to 1," Villegas said. 

The two locations are a shelter on East Laurel near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and transitional housing next to Natividad Hospital. This is Monterey County land, which Villegas says means more help. 

 "The city can put funds with it in the MOU with the county's funds and their land. And their 
services," Villegas said. "Join those two forces together so we're a stronger unit trying to solve this problem"

This would be the only permanent homeless shelter in Monterey County, but Salinas has 56 percent of the county's homeless population. 

"Creekbridge is sandwiched between the two locations. but this is about all of Salinas and all of east side," said Craig Cox, the President of Creekbridge United. 

The group has protested near the sites for two straight weekends, and again Tuesday night. Complaints from people have been three-pronged - don't evict the homeless from Chinatown; don't put the homeless shelter in their backyard; they didn't get a change to show they opposition in the decision making process. 

"There needs to be public meetings where we all can speak up. Like I said, I attended the public meetings for the HEAP program. And they basically said 'No. No. No. You don't get to talk 
about the location. Today is not about the location'," Cox tells KION. 

Cox showed us a public records request asking about how the locations were chosen. He said the city responded by saying they can't displace that privileged information.

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