I am writing this from the front desk at Casa Esperanza, where I have been volunteering for over a year. I can’t speak to the frustrations of neighbors and businesses as I have not experienced them first-hand in the time I’ve been a volunteer, but I do not question the legitimacy of their concerns. The only perspective I would like to add to this discussion is that, in terms of numbers, I have seen surprisingly few problems with the client population here at the shelter. And when there are problems, it seems to me that it is often the same person or persons repeatedly being problematic. Again, I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine many of the problems nearby the shelter are being caused by relatively few individuals. And some of those few have no connection to the shelter at all. If that is, in fact, the case, then (and I say this in full appreciation of the situation’s complexity) we should be careful about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The service provided by this shelter is indispensable to our entire community, and the staff at Casa Esperanza are earnestly trying, in an ongoing and ever-evolving way, to find solutions to the issues on the table.


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