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Letter Against Nav. Center from HOA

Letter to the Tuolumne County Supervisors

This will serve to advise you that I/we are against the installation of a Homeless Navigation Center at the Oak Terrace Memory Care facility in Soulsbyville. The installation of homeless in this particular neighborhood will be detrimental to homes and life here.

Elementary School and Park: The proposed location of homeless housing will be less than 1,000 feet from Soulsbyville Elementary school. The cities of Sacramento and Los Angeles have passed bans to prohibit encampments near schools. There is a private park and play structure less than 400 feet from the Oak Terrace Memory Care buildings. The friends and relatives of those housed will undoubtedly visit, park and sleep in their vehicles, and wander the area. The wandering is concerning as the school and park are close by. This will result in needles and other drug paraphernalia being tossed on the ground where kids play.

Fires and Fire Insurance: There were two fires last year at the homeless encampment in Sonora. This will undoubtedly happen again. Residents around the homeless navigation center will lose existing fire insurance (as many can attest to having previous insurance policies cancelled). The only fire insurance option available will be Lloyds of London pared with the CA Fair Plan at several thousands of dollars more than past policies. This is a very real concern and outcome for local homeowners.
Open Space: The open space around the Memory Care Center will be very attractive to visitors not housed at the homeless navigation center. The Memory Care property behind the buildings and around the parking lot is open, level and not fenced. The open land will become an attractive nuisance for visiting homeless to use as they feel they need to (i.e. pitch a tent, build a quick fire to warm up, cook some food, etc.)
Property Values: Property Values will be lower, meaning a loss of equity. Two folks at the April 11 open meeting with supervisors stated that they were told by a realtor that they would lose $100,000.00 in equity in their home if they choose to sell.

No Services Available: There is no housing available in Soulsbyville after the homeless spend their 6 months at the Navigation Center. Homeless folks who successfully “graduate” from the Navigation Center will need to be relocated to an area where there is available housing. There is no existing scheduled bus service to transport homeless individuals to downtown Sonora. Soulsbyville has no medical offices, emergency room services, grocery stores, or police and fire stations. The closest fire station is a volunteer station and unmanned 24/7.

Crime, Drugs and Overall Security: The county seems to have no plans to deal with crime, drugs and overall security. We would request that the Board of Supervisors (BOS) provide security patrols 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year. We would request that the BOS provide drug testing for all homeless folks residing at the facility and security to assist in removal for failed drug tests. There is no legal way to drug test visitors to the families residing at the facility, and these would be the very people who would start fires and become squatters.

Squatters: The Supervisors have not stated any plans of how they would remove squatters (people camped out or sleeping in their vehicles). An individual at the April 7 BOS special meeting stated that once a property is owned by the government, it is extremely difficult to remove squatters.

14% Success Rate: A gentlemen stood up at the April 7 BOS special meeting and stated that the Navigation Center model was used in San Francisco from (something like) 2015 – 2020. He stated that San Francisco had a 14% success rate! That is the same as an 86% fail rate. It would seem that in using this model, the BOS are setting the project up for failure.

We ask that you cancel plans for a Homeless Navigation Center at the Oak Terrace Memory Care facility in Soulsbyville.

Submitted by Rich Gila
President of Sonora Vista Home Owners Assoc.
Soulsbyville, CA