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Sandra Weaver, San Clemente

On May 7, I attended a meeting of the San Clemente Planning Commission. On the agenda was consideration of a number of sites which might be designated for a homeless shelter.

The reason for proposing these sites is the SB-2 ordinance, which requires all cities and counties to provide at least one zoning category in which emergency shelters can be located without discretionary approval from the local government. The zoning category must be identified in the locality’s housing element and include sites with sufficient capacity to meet the local need for emergency shelter.

One of the proposed sites was the property that Kmart had occupied and is now vacant.

Hundreds of folks showed up with signs indicating their disapproval of that site. The reason for their objection was simply that they did not want it “in their backyard.” Why? The main reason was money.

Although many would cite safety, children nearby and other concerns, they are really concerned about their property values. There were other speakers objecting to some of the other sites considered, but their reasons were also all about the money.

I also spoke at that meeting but not to express my feelings pro or con on any of the sites. My reason for speaking out was to ask those who were objecting to take a step back and look at the situation from a humane standpoint. I suggested that many of those in the audience may have known people who might have become homeless due to a fire, flood or other misfortune, but they had family and friends who came to their aid. The people we see on the street do not have family and friends to help them. They need you and me to step up and give them a helping hand so they can begin to regain their lives.

San Clemente is very fortunate to have the organization iHOPE here in our community. iHOPE is a pathway to success for the homeless individuals and families in need of emergency and long-term resources in south Orange County.

The city of San Clemente will do the right thing and create a zone for a homeless shelter.

It’s just sad that doing so had to be because of an ordinance. The 300 folks who worked so hard to oppose the Kmart site can now rest peacefully knowing that “those people” will not be their neighbors.

When the city designates the site for the homeless shelter, how about each of you donating at least $100 or more to the building of that site? That’s the least you can do to show your gratitude.

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