City to hold community meeting addressing North Palm Springs homeless center

The City of Palm Springs is holding a community meeting on Thursday to address residents’ concerns regarding a homeless services center in the north end of the city. Some neighbors living near the proposed site of the center worry it will bring increased crime and substance abuse issues to their part of town. 

A motivated group of these residents have not only voiced their concerns at city council meetings, they’ve even started a petition to stop its development. They maintain they have no issue with the center itself, but its location.

That sentiment is echoed by the council’s lone no vote on the project, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, who represents the district where the center would be located. 

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Other City Council members, city department heads, and the police continue to reassure residents that the facility will be unlike anything else in the city. It would not be an overnight shelter housing transient people, but a “Navigation Center” offering transitional housing and wraparound services like job training and medical care. 

Proponents say the goal of the center is to put homeless people on the path toward permanent housing and employment, rather than just sheltering them for a few nights. 

Officials representing each of the stakeholders of the facility will be present at Thursday’s meeting to answer questions. That includes city officials, Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills, Linda Barrack, CEO  of Martha’s Village and Kitchen, and Greg Rodriguez, government relations and public policy advisor from Supervisor Manuel Perez’s office.

At a previous Main Street Palm Springs meeting, Councilmember Geoff Kors highlighted the involvement of Martha’s Village and Kitchen in the project.

“We haven’t had the kind of impacts we had over on Encilia,” Kors said, referring to a daytime cooling center formerly located off Calle Encilia and run by Well in the Desert. “Martha’s runs the overnight shelter at Alejo and we haven’t seen negative impacts there.”

The McCarthy Road property is 3.6 acres of industrial land and contains three buildings with 47,000-square-feet of usable space. It is being sold to the city for $5.9 million.

When opened, the facility will have 80 units of transitional housing, as well as job training, medical care, and other services. Construction should begin in January 2023. It would welcome its first clients in early 2024.

More information: The community meeting on Thursday, March 3rd will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the James O.  Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Road. 

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