After hearing from hundreds of people at a special meeting Tuesday night, the Fremont City Council voted unanimously to put a controversial homeless navigation center behind City Hall in downtown Fremont.
The goal of the meeting, which is only the latest in a series of meetings on the controversial center, was to decide between two proposed sites for the navigation center. One proposed site was downtown, behind the City Hall. The other site was on Decoto Road.
At a previous meeting on the topic, people from three camps showed up to voice their opinions: those that opposed the Decoto Road site, those that opposed the downtown site and those that supported a navigation center at either site.
Those that opposed a site at either location in past meetings had safety concerns about the site being in one particular area or another. Some that opposed the downtown site specifically cited a recent incident involving a homeless man attacking a resident in a building lobby in the Embarcadero in San Francisco.
“Of course, we want to pay extra attention to safety and how much it’s going to affect the downtown area,” the resident said.
But those that opposed the other choice, a site on Decoto Road, felt that it would bring danger to that area instead. Some felt that an industrial area might be a better location.
“From Berkeley and Oakland, they put it in an industrial area and right now from their data it seems successful,” said a Fremont resident who opposed the Decoto road site.
Kimberly Petersen, the Fremont police chief, pointed out that homeless people are already in Fremont regardless of where the navigation center will be.
“We’re not bringing them here, they’re already here,” she said. “These beds are going to be dedicated specifically to people recruited from the streets around the center.”