Fremont Considers Homeless Center on Church Lot in Niles

Fremont is considering setting up a center in the city's Niles district to help homeless people find housing.

And while most agree the city needs to tackle homelessness, many neighbors are already fighting back against the plan.

The idea is to put up modular buildings on an open field owned by a church and create a 24/7 navigation center to help the homeless get into housing.

The city of Fremont wants to get people out of RVs and tents and into stable housing, which is why it's negotiating with Niles Discovery Church to convert the grassy lot into a temporary home for 45 people. The navigation center would be run by an outside agency and offer showers, meals and beds, along with substance abuse and mental health services.

Don Cardoza lives nearby and has concerns about security. He explained he's already had issues with homeless people camped nearby, saying one woman who was "definitely casing the house."

The navigation center would house people for six months and be modeled after a successful center in Berkeley. But more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition expressing concerns for a variety of reasons.

"Crimes, the people, needles," resident Adam Hackney said.

Rev. Brenda Loreman, with Niles Discovery Church says Fremont can't address the homeless problem by being fearful.

"Homelessness is already in our neighborhood," Loreman said. "We need to do big, brave things to address the problem."

The Fremont City Council is scheduled to discuss the plan in June.

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