Facing opposition, board changes course on homeless shelter

Tony Ramos is seen here sitting at his camp site behind Jerry's in June of 2010.

Nearly eight months after the county board chose a Southside Road location for a permanent homeless shelter in San Benito County, supervisors Tuesday reversed course and opted for a different site along Flynn Road.
Board members reversed course in a 3-2 vote before a crowd packing the supervisors’ chambers and chose a location along Flynn Road near the county jail as the preferred site. Supervisors Jerry Muenzer, Jaime De La Cruz and Robert Rivas supported the move.
It was a change of vote for De La Cruz and Rivas who both initially supported the Southside Road location designated as the preferred site since February. Supervisors Margie Barrios and Anthony Botelho continued their staunch support for the Southside Road location.
A wave of neighborhood opposition, though, eventually led to the reconsideration Tuesday and the reversal.
Supervisors have just over three years to finish the homeless shelter 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 have to pick a preferred site in order to move ahead on environmental reviews of that location and alternatives. With Flynn Road as the preferred site, the alternative locations are now Southside Road, Community Road near many existing social services and McCloskey Road.
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