Supporters of Casa Esperanza’s daily lunch program are gearing up for a City Planning Commission hearing Thursday, October 21, in City Council Chambers. Many have been planning three-minute individual remarks and reminding each other to rally against forces aiming to stop the service.
The official purpose of the hearing is to review the shelter’s conditional use permit (CUP), a procedure the city requires to take place at least every two years, sometimes more. But the Planning Commission will not take any action at this hearing, just basically discuss a report submitted by shelter Executive Director Mike Foley, detailing what the shelter is doing to meet conditions of its permit, and any changes instituted since the last review. The hearing is also designed for taking comments from the community. But a contingent of business owners, managers, and residents of the Milpas corridor have made a recent public stand about what they perceive are negative impacts that the shelter is having on the neighborhood. They do have some facts to buttress their position, including a police department crime record showing a marked increase in reported crime since the shelter opened in 2000. Casa supporters are expected to point to a lack of consistent policing in the area, including the loss of 10 actual police officers from the department since the shelter opened. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.