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San Benito County’s homeless suffered a quiet defeat last week
when local homeless advocate Marley Holte said his goal of opening
an overnight shelter at the National Guard Armory was virtually
dead. That means another winter in the cold for some. It should be
the last. It’s a shame that the city can build an animal shelter
but leaves the homeless out in the cold.
San Benito County’s homeless suffered a quiet defeat last week when local homeless advocate Marley Holte said his goal of opening an overnight shelter at the National Guard Armory was virtually dead. That means another winter in the cold for some. It should be the last. It’s a shame that the city can build an animal shelter but leaves the homeless out in the cold.

But what’s frustrating is it could have been different. Local leaders could have stepped up to find a place for a shelter this winter but instead voted against one possible location and never did much to find an alternative.

The city had the chance to approve using the Armory at the airport for a shelter. Holte was volunteering to do the work and was convinced he could get a grant to operate the program. But the city council voted against it because the Federal Aviation Administration objected. In the spring, the council canceled a meeting on homeless issues. Then, city officials started squabbling with the county over which agency should take the lead in finding a shelter location.

Eventually, the discussion grew quiet and time ran out on the idea of a shelter this winter.

Holte, the founder of Community Assistance Program, which holds Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for homeless folks, promises to continue to search for a shelter next year. Local leaders should join him and take advantage of his willingness to create a program. County Supervisor Pat Loe sounds like she is ready to get to work.

“We can sit there and say the city or the county needs to be the lead agency, but it’s time we stop assessing blame and work together on a solution,” she said last week.

Loe should team up with Councilman Robert Scattini – who supports a shelter, just not at the airport – to form a joint city and county task force charged with finding a building and landing a grant to fund a homeless shelter.

This should be the last winter that homeless people don’t have a decent place to sleep in San Benito County on a cold night.

To respond to this editorial or comment on this issue, please send or bring letters to Editor, The Hollister Free Lance, 350 Sixth St., Hollister, Calif. 95023 or e-mail to [email protected].

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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