South Natomas parents angry about proposed homeless shelter

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NATOMAS, Calif. (KTXL) -- Natomas city leaders are considering placing 50 furnished cabins in the city to house the homeless but some residents aren’t happy with the location.

“This is a safety issue for our kids and our neighborhood kids,” parent Raul Huerta told FOX40.

The solar-powered cabins would house homeless women and children on Northgate Boulevard in South Natomas.  Residents said the idea sounds good in theory, but the problem is the site is directly across the Garden Valley Elementary School.

“I’m worried about this because this is an elementary school,” said parent Letycia Huerta. “Our kids are from 6 years to 12.”

More than 200 hundred mothers, fathers and worried neighbors packed into a school gym Wednesday for a community forum on the proposed plan. Many attendees raised concerns of safety and sanitation, among other issues.

“This is not the solution because they’ll have no water running,” parent Rosa Romero said. “There’s a lot of things that are not good for [the homeless] and not good for us.”

Councilman Jeff Harris responded Wednesday to some of the expressed fears.

“There’s a certain amount of danger in any part of the city at any given time,” Harris said. “There’s no guarantees like that, but what I can say is where we do have shelters up and running in this city and other cities, we have not had those kinds of issues.”

While most attendees appeared outwardly opposed to the proposal, some people welcomed the idea.

“They act like there’s not homeless children in schools already,” parent Jennifer Sibilla said. “There are tons of homeless children in schools and it’s sad. If we have the ability, which we do, to do something about it then why don’t we do it?”

City leaders said the proposed development will be gated and offer site security. It would even have a community center with a medical unit.

The project is still in the proposal phase and there will be a series of community meetings before a final decision is made.

A representative for the Twin Rivers Unified School District spoke at the event and said they do not support the proposed location:

We do not support this location. We want to work with the mayor and city council to find an alternate location to get the homeless off the streets and inside but not across from our school.

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