Residents Of Liberal California Town Fume Over Proposed Homeless Housing


Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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Residents in San Mateo, California, voiced their discontent with a proposed homeless housing policy during a county meeting Friday.

A new $33 million county project would use state funds to turn the 99-unit La Quinta Inn into housing for unvetted homeless people. The facility would be operated by Episcopal Community Services, according to NBC Bay Area.

“We’re concerned. We’re concerned about this project. The reason why is because it’s right in the heart of Millbrae,” Millbrae resident Patricia Lam said, per the outlet. (RELATED: San Diego Builds ‘Safe Sleeping Sites’ Instead Of Actually Dealing With Its Homeless Crisis)

“It’s very close to children. It’s a block from three schools. So we don’t want to see that,” Millbrae resident Ho Yeung said.

“Losing a hotel in Millbrae is almost like cutting off a finger,” another resident said, according to NBC Bay Area.

Beth Stokes of the community service has dismissed resident’s safety concerns.

“Essentially folks will be living in an apartment. In terms of safety, ECS will have 24/7 staffing on site. We also will have case management staffing and that’s what supportive housing is. It’s services,” she said, per the outlet.

San Mateo’s homeless population increased by 20 percent during the pandemic. A count conducted in February found there were 1,092 homeless people in the county, which has a total population of around three-quarters of a million, according to San Mateo Daily Journal. In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden won San Mateo County with almost 80 percent of the vote.

About 172,000 people are homeless in the state of California, the highest homeless population of any state in the U.S.

The homeless population in California accounts for 30 percent of the country’s homeless, despite the state having just 12 percent of the total U.S. population.