County hones focus on San Felipe site for homeless shelter

Alex Pena rides his bike along the path that leads to the homeless camp along the San Benito river in January.

County supervisors this month agreed to front money to buy a building for a permanent homeless shelter, though questions still remain about the cost of using that space and
Supervisors voted 4-1 on April 12 to allocate $1 million in inter-loan funds toward the purchase of the 1161 San Felipe Road site.
The county board, with the exception of Supervisor Robert Rivas with the lone dissenting vote at last week’s meeting, has focused its recent attention on acquiring the San Felipe Road building for a massive renovation to accommodate a 24/7 homeless shelter.
In December, supervisors unanimously approved an idea to focus on the property at 1161 San Felipe Road, near health and human services facilities, as the preferred location for a new homeless shelter. Just back in September, the board redirected its attention away from a previously chosen, controversial site on Southside Road for another location on Flynn Road near the jail and airport that garnered its own share of discontent, largely from surrounding business owners. The San Felipe Road site, like the others, has garnered its share of opposition as well.
Supervisors have about three years to finish the project in order to receive the full $1.5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds awarded to the county for a permanent shelter. They had to pick a preferred site in order to move ahead on environmental reviews of that location and alternative properties.

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