Shelter for battered women, children finds Tracy home
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Dec 30, 2013 | 7776 views | 14 14 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 10 months of searching for a permanent place to house battered women and their children, the county women’s center has found new home in Tracy.

The single-family house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and sits on a large lot, according to Joelle Gomez, CEO of the San Joaquin County Women’s Center-Youth and Family Services. It can shelter at most a dozen adults and children at a time.

“It’s a great space,” she said Friday, Dec. 27.

Gomez was unwilling to disclose the location of the house, to protect the women and children it will eventually shelter.

The building was purchased for $299,000 at the end of November, she said, and plans are underway to do minor renovations using the remainder of the center’s $500,000 budget. Gomez said the money will also pay for maintenance and furnishings.

The city of Tracy has been without a battered women’s shelter since February, when the Tracy Refuge for Empowerment and Education House closed its doors due to disrepair. T.R.E.E. House, which opened in May 2004, provided shelter for eight women and children.

“It’s been nearly a year since we closed the T.R.E.E. House,” she said. “I’m so excited (with the new site). It’s our goal to open up in the spring.”

Center officials were close to opening a new shelter in mid-September, after negotiating to purchase a house on the 400 block of East Hollywood Avenue. (Read previous story.) They withdrew that offer when neighborhood residents protested the shelter’s opening and revealed its address.

Gomez called the loss of that house a minor setback that presented her with a challenge. She said the neighbors at the new site have welcomed the shelter to the area.

“I knew it would happen eventually,” she said. “Our goal is to make it a sanctuary and a wonderful place for women to escape violence.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
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Sneaky
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January 03, 2014
Newtotracy,

it isn't an issue of human life vs. real estate values. Nobody will die if they don't move into a particular house. There are numerous other properties, some with few neighbors, that could be used. With regard to compassion: it sounds noble, and is easy to say, that we shouldn't place the value of real estate over compassion but any sane person recognizes limits to that. Lets say tomorrow you find out that the state plans to place a 1000 bed facility for recovering drug addicts next to YOUR house. Lets also suppose that you plan to sell your house next year and your realtor estimates you will lose approximately $50k out of your pocket if the recovery facility is built. Does that change your view of things? It should. While we want drug abusers to get the help they need, a small number of folks should not be stuck bearing hidden costs for that. If such a facility must be built in a particular neighborhood then there should be a mechanism for all costs to be shared among all residents of the city or state, rather than the burden falling on a small number of property owners. Unfortunately I didn't see you or anyone else offering to compensate the homeowners for any losses.
Tracyite4life
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January 03, 2014
Sneaky, I respect ur reasonable idea. You are right about the 1000 bed drug place but i think that is different than a house which looks the same as the other houses on the block with only a few women and their children in it. No one knows who is in the house from the outside. there is no sign so i'm not sure its the same thing for property values as a rehab. but where would you put the shelter?

my comments were about the people who have no interest in helping these women because they think they come from poor homes or worse. (i ain't gonna say what i heard from two residents in my store ... but it was about "those people")

i am glad there are people like you sneaky who seem like you want to help even if you worry about ur neighborhood.

newtotracy
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January 03, 2014
I hear what you're saying...but as Tracyite4Life notes...a 1000 bed facility to treat drug addicts is VERY different from a normal house that houses a few women and children (a number I'd love to see dwindle).

Fact of the matter is...I'd rather have the battered women's home on my block than a daycare...and those don't seem to be newsworthy when they go in.

A 1000 bed facility is a LARGE business...almost like a hospital...a home with a few scared abused women and children is not so different from any other home on the block...it's a family of sorts.

Personally...I'd prefer that we return to the pre-Reagan era of having mental hospitals and the like...rather than having a growing sector of the population be termed "the homeless population."

As for the sharing of costs/losses...it shouldn't come down to that in my opinion. When I bought my home...I bought a home. Sure, I'd like it to be worth the same or more when I sell...but I bought a HOME not an investment. That's what homes are supposed to be...homes.

There just needs to be a neutral ground...no 1000 bed hospitals should go in (I don't like that the existing hospital is buying up properties to pave them over for parking...that to me also decreases home values...who wants to live next to a parking lot? those attract vagrants etc at night.

but there needs to be a way for these women and children to have a safe place to be that is NOT an institution...that won't heal them. I have friends who have moved many states away because of an abusive husband...with their child. The thought of them not having a safe place and having to return to the a-hole isn't something I like to think about...I'm betting I'd have buried my friend and nobody would know where her child is.

and I hate to say this...but we all shoulder the compensation burden on losses...where do you think our taxes go? that's right...they bail out the banks. homeowners lose all but by golly we'll pay for the banks to be ok. :-(

and you are correct...nobody will die if they don't move into a "particular" house...but don't be fooled...these women and children COULD very realistically die if there is no safe place to go. And a home in a neighborhood is MUCH safer than one in the boonies where nobody can hear the screams.
victor_jm
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January 05, 2014
NewtoTracy,

A house is viewed as an investment in our culture--and not just by the homeowner (I will let you think about this). Also, perhaps daycare facilities and shelter places ought to be located in business areas. See, I think of my house as a place where I go when I would like quiet, relaxation and solitude, but this notion is often brutally annihilated by barking dogs in the a.m., children misbehaving, automobiles ripping down the street, and a neighbor who thinks I enjoy his blaring Mexican (Spanish) music. See, responsibility and consideration are truly endangered characteristics with many people in our communities.

Do you ever think the "do-gooders" are actually exacerbating the problems they address? Now, I don't believe this is case--most of the time--but I still wonder about the things we do to "help."

An aside: A person said the government doesn't have the right to deny a man the right to use drugs. I wondered: Does this same government have an obligation to feed and provide healthcare to these people?

See, the government implements and enforces (?) a lot of laws, which many of us habitually eschew (ex. bike helmet), for our protection, but ...

snaplelover
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January 01, 2014
Hollywood street is right. Ornely is right. Do you want them next door to your home? The new shelter is supposedly in Hidden Lake and it was sneaky how they got it there. Why do they have to be sneaky? Because it brings down real estate values.
Hollywood_Ave_Resident
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January 01, 2014
They tried to sneak into Hollywood Ave as well. If it wasn't for the tight group of Realtors who live in our area finding out about the sale, they'd be living there now. The house was already in escrow when they "supposedly" went door to door to ask the neighbors how they felt about a shelter moving in next to them.

They didn't even have the needed "Conditional Use Permit" from the city to operate a shelter out of that house, told us at the meeting it was the "cities fault for not letting them know they needed one"

Shame on the Tracy Press for not reporting all of the facts in their previous article, and shame on them for making us out to be the bad guys in this article by saying we revealed their location.

Denise Rizzo, you need to go back and read the previous article again, especially the part where you reveal the street and which block-

"Joelle Gomez, CEO of the Women’s Center-YFS, said during a phone interview Thursday that the group is no longer interested in buying the home on the 400 block of East Hollywood Avenue."

Tracyite4life
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January 01, 2014
I'm sorry, you all talk about property values when women are running for their lives? You keep worrying about your stuff, the rest of us will worry about people. That's the community we live in.

They can't just announce where they are going so the men who abuse them can't find them.

I own a house and welcome these women and children, so I hope they read this and don't think everyone in Tracy is so selfish.
newtotracy
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January 02, 2014
Tracyite4Life has it right.

yes...it would be somewhat scary to have the home in one's neighborhood because of the abusive people who might come looking for their "loved ones"...but these are people who NEED a place to feel safe and to feel embraced by those around them. They've had quite enough of the attitudes of non-caring.

I can't say 100% how I'd feel, but a home for battered women and children can't be any worse than the block of crapheads near me...and we have NO say in that situation! We just get to wait until they're arrested for whatever again...or their home is repo'ed or whatnot.

At least the safe house would be known to police and probably would increase the presence of TPD in the area. That sounds like a win:win to me!

shame on ANYONE who looks only at real estate values over human life and compassion. Seriously...put yourself in someone else's shoes for just a minute and think about it.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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January 01, 2014
"Gomez was unwilling to disclose the location of the house, to protect the women and children it will eventually shelter."

Protection frum who? Th people they need protectin frum or th angry neighbors who have just found out thir close by because they thank it will decrease thair property values?

Glad they found a home and I hope they get good use out of it. But honestly, th problem is all about th money ain't it?

Tracyite4life
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December 30, 2013
I am so happy they found a place. I pray they are in my neighborhood. I also pray they are taken care of by the people around them.

To those who will say they are from the Hollywood neighborhood and they were misunderstood when they ran them off the block, I heard from at least 8 of you who came to my store and they all said they just did'nt want them around and they since they had bad homes they should stay out of nice neighborhoods. Two even said they didn't want those women there no matter what. I still think you are not nice people and should think in your heart about that.
Sneaky
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December 30, 2013
It is great that they found a place for the home among welcoming neighbors but one thing in the article made me much more sympathetic than I had been to the folks that were protesting the proposed placement of the home in their neighborhood. "The city of Tracy has been without a battered women’s shelter since February, when the Tracy Refuge for Empowerment and Education House closed its doors due to disrepair." If the organization that runs the place didn't maintain the previous building why would anybody expect them to properly maintain whatever new property they buy?

DunkMan
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December 31, 2013
Sneaky -- it seems pretty insensitive to disparage the Womens Shelter for not performing structural maintenance on a builidng that was rented to them for free. It was generous of the owner to let the Shelter use the home, but there should be no expectations placed on that owner (or the Women's Shelter) to expend their limited funds to perform major structural repairs. It would be better to comment on how well they maintain what they own and not try to raise issues that don't exist.
behonestguys
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December 30, 2013
Glad to see these folks were able to secure a shelter. Obviously, the neighborhood they moved into didn't have their version of the Hollywood Avenue Mob that was ready to pillory helpless women and children a few months ago needing a safe place to stay to help re-build their lives after fleeing an abusive environment. Hope the Hollywood Avenue gang never have to have the use of such a facility for themselves or any of their daughters or grand-kids.
victor_jm
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December 30, 2013
Behonestguy,

I don't think you get it.


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