Hundreds of Temple City residents packed into City Council chambers Tuesday to voice opposition to a plan to convert a motel into housing for the homeless.
As the Pasadena Star News first reported, the project would be located just outside of Temple City’s border in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County, so the council doesn’t have the power to shoot down the project. But residents are asking the council “to make a formal statement [to] the county disapproving of the project.”
Lawrence Chou told the council he feared the project would bring the “drugs [and] violence” of Skid Row to the area. “We enjoy our lives here, we enjoy the safety, the community,” he said. “We definitely do not want a lot of transients coming to our neighborhood.”
Nonprofit Mercy Housing plans to repurpose the aging motel at 6353 Rosemead Boulevard, converting it to permanent supportive housing with 169 units (60 of which would be set aside for veterans).
Opponents recently started a petition calling on city leaders to block the proposed project. (At this writing, the petition had garnered over 1,750 signatures.)
“If we don't take action to stop this project now,” the petition reads, “Temple City residents and families will face increased traffic, added population density and plummeting property values.”
With the number of homeless residents in Los Angeles County rising rapidly, officials are scrambling to establish temporary shelters and housing to alleviate the crisis.
In March, county residents approved Measure H, a sales tax hike that will, among other things, help fund supportive services in low-income housing complexes.
While the vote suggests residents support the idea of homeless assistance, resistance to facilities designed to serve the homeless community is often fierce. A recent proposal for homeless housing in Venice, for instance, is already facing stiff opposition from some residents.
But not everyone at Temple City’s council meeting Tuesday was against the project. One resident told the council that he had emigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1968. “I find it very much against the grain for me not to welcome veterans who have paid the price to live in my neighborhood,” he said.