After a two-week delay, the City Council is expected to take a final vote tonight on whether to permit the construction of the city's first temporary housing facility for homeless families.
More than 125 residents appeared for the Sept. 17 council meeting at which the council considered Mary's Home for Transitional Families, but a vote was postponed because Councilman William D. Mahoney was absent. Without him, the decision would have been left to three council members because Councilman Juan M. Garcia must abstain due to his votes on the project while he served on the Planning Commission earlier this year.
An even larger crowd is anticipated tonight because project opponents last week organized the Coalition Against the Location of Mary's Home. The group, consisting of residents who live near the proposed location for the project, plans to present the council with what they say are discrepancies in city staff reports and memos about the shelter.
They have argued against the proposed location of the facility, a 1.55-acre lot behind Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and School, saying that having a homeless facility in the neighborhood will force property values to decrease and cause traffic problems.
Mary's Home is designed to house up to 28 homeless families, as well as provide day care and training in life management skills, nutrition and job searches. Families living at the proposed seven-unit, gated complex would be allowed to stay there for three months to two years.
The $2.5-million facility, named after Mary Kretschmar who left a $250,000 bequest to help the poor in the city, would target families headed by young single mothers.
To allow the shelter to be built, the council must approve a zone change, a General Plan amendment for the density change, two permits to establish the temporary housing facility and operate a day care, a zone variance to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 99 to 61, the project plan and a declaration that the project will not have a negative impact on the environment.