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October 22, 2021

Farr feuds with town hall speakers over homeless complaint

Julio Salazar spoke at Congressman Sam Farr’s town hall meeting Tuesday night. Salazar was among a group of residents from a neighborhood who are against the designated location for a permanent homeless shelter on Southside Road.
With the labor camp and affordable housing already in the area, he contended supervisors’ intention to place a permanent homeless shelter there was an example of “segregation.”
Salazar and other residents, including David Crandall, who spoke out during a July county board meeting on the same topic, voiced their concern to the congressman about the location.
The county has received a $1.5 million federal block grant to go toward a permanent facility. Some supervisors prefer to put the shelter at the old hospital location on Southside Road, a previously OK’d site near the current seasonal migrant center, despite objections from neighborhood residents.
Crandall mentioned how the location designated in the grant application along San Felipe Road, near existing social service centers, has been opposed by agriculture interests in the area and thus moved to the Southside site. He said businesses near the county jail on the north side of Hollister are opposing it as well.
“How come everybody else can say no but we can’t?” Crandall said.
Salazar and Crandall argued it was inappropriate for their neighborhood due to the large number of children and families in the area along with the fact that social services are located near downtown miles away.
“Unfortunately,” Farr responded, “the federal government has nothing to do with it.” 
Farr went on: “We have to stop ghettoizing people of anything.”
Farr offered an example that Pebble Beach is building housing for its workforce and how local homeowners are upset about it. He also mentioned how some urban developments include market-rate units on one side and affordable on the other.
“We have to stop designating these barrios of poverty and wealth,” Farr said.
Crandall, though, pointed out how the homeless shelter would be “right on top of” his neighborhood.
Another neighborhood resident spoke up and said there had been homeless shelter meetings at the county level held during the day, when most of the neighborhood’s homeowners were working.
Farr encouraged the residents to help the county find other solutions, but the neighbors replied how the county was moving ahead on the Southside Road locale and wouldn’t consider other options.
“What people do is, when they don’t like something, they complain about it,” Farr said.
Farr said the residents should help the county find another place for a shelter “that’s practical.”
“That’s the county’s job,” Crandall said.
“No, it isn’t,” Farr responded.

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