Women's Center of San Joaquin County
TRACY, CA - The Women's Center of San Joaquin County thought it had the perfect location for a shelter in Tracy, but people living on and near Hollywood Avenue made it clear the shelter wouldn't be welcome.
"Their perception was our shelter would bring in a dangerous crowd," center director Joelle Gomez said. "They had this picture in their mind - they were drug addicts and homeless."
The shelter would have had 10 beds for abused women and their children. A typical stay at a shelter is about 60 days, until center staff can direct the woman to more permanent assistance.
"Not having these beds available really puts women's lives and their children in jeopardy," Gomez said.
Neighbors said in a meeting of about 40 people last week the shelter wasn't appropriate for their residential area. They also feared the type of people that might track down the women who were staying in the secret location.
"I am sympathetic to the women, but I have to think of my son first," neighbor Candice Sanchez said.
"It's a good cause, but it's the wrong location," neighbor Randy Sasser said.
Gomez said she's never seen such opposition to the idea of creating a shelter for abused women. She also said there's never been an incident of an abuser trying to locate the victim or creating more problems.
Still, Gomez realized the shelter wouldn't work on Hollywood Avenue, near Tracy High. The center is now looking for another location.
By Tim Daly, email@example.com