Women’s center abandons home buy after protest
by Michael Langley
Sep 13, 2013 | 7376 views | 15 15 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Women’s Center-Youth and Family Services of San Joaquin County announced Thursday, Sept. 12, that it is canceling the purchase of a single-family home in Tracy, nearly 12 hours after neighbors gathered to voice concern about the battered women’s shelter opening on their 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.

“We are walking away from the house,” she said. “We certainly don’t want to get into an adversarial position with the neighbors.”

Public meeting called

A group of 47 people who live in the neighborhood met at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the front yard of Alice Campbell’s home on Beverly Place, directly behind the house the agency planned to buy.

“I basically organized it because everyone called and texted me saying I had the most to lose,” Campbell said.

The group invited Gomez to meet with them outside of Campbell’s house.

None of the neighbors attending the meeting, which was organized earlier in the day, spoke in support of the women’s shelter.

Rick Vital lives around the block from Hollywood Avenue in the house his parents bought in 1970. He was one of the residents worried the shelter would attract violence to the neighborhood in the form of abusive men looking for women at the house.

“It’s a nice neighborhood, but at night when the sun goes down, I start seeing unsavory people riding bicycles and snooping,” Vital said. “This day and age, you do what you can to keep the neighborhood what it is. Don’t let this kind of thing in.”

Gomez stressed to the group the agency’s history of zero attacks by abusers at their shelters.

“It’s a good question, about, Are we bringing danger into the neighborhood,” Gomez said, “I can tell that since the inception of our shelter, we’ve never had an incident where a batterer has beaten down at the shelter.”

That response didn’t convince Ricky, another neighbor, that his wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and their daughter would be safe. He declined to provide his last name but said he lived down the street from the house.

“They’re saying they have no abuse rate, nothing really coming up, but we don’t know that,” Ricky said. “Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for the women, but I think they need a bigger place or a better place for them to get back on track.”

Throughout the meeting, many residents said they felt their neighborhood was not the right fit for a women’s shelter.

“The right location in my mind would be not low density, it would be maybe what they used to be in: medical density, apartment living,” Campbell said. “Maybe something out in the country. Great places for the kids to play.”

Quality of neighborhood in jeopardy?

Many residents shouted concerns about protecting themselves from perceived dangers a shelter could create.

“What can I do to stop this?” one self-described mother of three said.

“This is the nicest district in Tracy for years and years and years,” said another unidentified woman. “It’s almost like you’re desecrating it.”

Gomez told the group the two-bedroom home the agency was going to buy would house no more than 10 women and children at any time.

One woman from the neighborhood said she sympathized with the plight of battered women but was opposed to placing such a shelter alongside people who have owned their homes for 40 or 50 years.

“They put everything into their homes, and you’re coming in unfairly and just disturbing these neighborhoods. It’s not fair and it’s not right,” she said.

Gomez responded with a plea for the battered women who need a place to escape their abusers.

“It’s not fair and it’s not right to deprive a person who is trying to rehabilitate themselves — a victim who has nowhere else to go — to not be in a setting as beautiful as your neighborhood,” she said.

Other neighbors yelled out “downtown” or “an apartment complex” when asked where the battered women should go.

Ricky suggested that a two-bedroom home was too small for the group’s needs.

“Something bigger where they can grow out a little bit, instead of being back into a shrunken house with more people,” he said. “That would be better for them. Something with more fresh air.”

Moving on

Gomez said Thursday, following the public meeting, that despite the access to parks, schools and public amenities that would be provided by a shelter on East Hollywood Avenue, the Women’s Center-Youth and Family Services was going to abandon its efforts to buy the house.

Following the meeting Wednesday, Gomez said she understood the concern expressed by the neighbors.

“It’s discouraging. It’s also understandable,” Gomez said. “You have to ask yourself, would you ever expect to live next to a battered women’s shelter. I ask myself that all the time. I would accept that.”

Gomez said the group will resume its search for a home in another part of town.

Denise Ellen Rizzo contributed to this report.

•Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or mlangley@tracypress.com.

 
Comments
(15)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
cody01
|
September 14, 2013
I would consider this ppl as qualified buyers. I have a 3 bdrm 2 bth 30' outside City limits so nobody can complain from Tracy. I don't really have any neighbors. Right off Macarthur.
justinpigg@comcast.net
|
September 13, 2013
We live in a great neighborhood. We had car break in last year, until my husband took care of it personally, sending the robbers to jail for 10 years. Crime is everywhere, especially in nice neighborhoods. The thing that is not common is accountability within our human race. It is our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and to right the wrongs in our community. it is the attitude of the residents seen in Hollywood drive that raise such arrogance in these men, men who abuse only do so with the conviction that they are taught by their parents that people always err in the side of minding their own business and protecting their interest, exactly what these people have done. I live in a great neighborhood, great because we look out for one another and know how to clean up other parent's mistakes. it is people like these who raise men like that, and I would hate karma to have their daughters show up one day in our shelters. I cannot imagine being that scared, self invested and helpless. I don't mean the battered victims, they atleast have courage, I mean the residents in Hollywood drive. God protect me from ever being that simple.
victor_jm
|
September 13, 2013
I am a guy who enjoys peace and solitude. Would I want 10 adults living in one house next door to me? No. Do I think this sentiment callous or uncaring? No.

Now, wherever this agency decides to go (for a home), I hope they have space off the street to accommodate a minimum of ten cars. Hypothetically, if every resident in this house had a car, and they were all home, and there were two staff members on site, and there were five visiting friends or family members there, as well, having arrived in separate vehicles, this would put the vehicle total at 17.

There is a different solution to this issue.

Personally, I think the state ought to disallow more than five adults in a residential recovery home. This is the simple solution, but most of those in power don’t live in our neighborhoods.

They like to impose their solutions on others.

victor_jm
|
September 13, 2013
Justinpigg,

You don't know the residents of Hollywood Drive. Please don't presume.

Perhaps the state ought to have foster guardians for these women, so you and other charitable souls can house them.

I advocate support for these women, but I don't advocate 10 adults in one medium-sized house.
McKendrick
|
September 13, 2013
I live a few houses down from 417 Hollywood which is the house in question. It wouldn't have bothered me that much for a shelter there but I do agree that it would be too small to house 10 women in. Everyone has to live somewhere.
mommyofthree
|
September 13, 2013
Wow, this is so sad and pathetic. I have so many thoughts in my head that I can't even get down... Let's begin with this, this is what is wrong with the world today... These people are probably the same people who don't give two cents about anyone else but themselves. These are the same people who probably don't help or give to the needy (not just speaking about homeless), who have no compassion towards others, if it doesn't concern them personally they don't care.

These people feel bad for them???? They don't want you to "feel bad" for them, they want you to love them and are looking for help. So, now these women and children who worked up the courage to leave their abuser and now living in a shelter to try to rebuild their lives, are you people going to help them do that in their new location? Since you "banned" them from your amazing neighborhood??? Are you going to go visit these women and encourage them since you feel so bad for them? Probably not because it's not your problem right? I feel so bad for children who have role models like these people who don't turn this into a learning experience for their kids and don't teach them compassion and kindness.
TracyBornAndTracyRaised
|
September 13, 2013
As an adult child of some of these concerned citizens, I can assure you that we are not lacking in wonderful role models. While I cannot speak for everyone in this neighborhood, I can say that many people, my parents included, got no joy from this situation and most certainly do care about the plight of these women.

However, in addition to compassion for others, we were also taught to learn all the facts before taking an action or publicly commenting. It is clear that mommyofthree, tracyite4life, and the others posting rude comments about our community have not learned that lesson. If they had taken the time to learn the facts, they would know that there are various mitigating factors, not the least of which are the circumstances of the direct neighbors to this home, which make this more than just some case of "not in my neighborhood."

To our neighbors who were blatantly rude about this, I also say shame on you. However, the majority of the people in attendance did not behave in this manner, another fact which is clear to anyone who did a little research.
Tracyite4life
|
September 13, 2013
You know what? Yes. Yes I would want them in my neighborhood. I have never commented because I figured it wouldn't matter but today I got mad.

These women need support. They need a safe place for them and their kids. And you all tell them not here?! That's awful.

Women's shelter if you see this, I pray you pick a home in my neighborhood.

I own my house and my kids would love to play with those children who were victimized by the man that's supposed to protect them.

Aren't we as a community supposed to protect these women? I hope you find a neighborhood that folds you in their arms and watches out for danger so it doesn't get you.

You clearly weren't going to get anything but unwelcome and rude behavior in this place.

Shame on you people.
Hollywood_Ave_Resident
|
September 13, 2013
THANK GOD!
Wobbley
|
September 13, 2013
Kinda selfish.
Hollywood_Ave_Resident
|
September 13, 2013
Damn right.

Would you want a safe house next door to you?
arkhog64
|
September 13, 2013
You watch way to much television and movies! Its ok as long as they aren't near you. Check your compassion level.
AnotherTracyParent
|
September 13, 2013
I am not sure what type of God you are referring to, but I am pretty sure that the God I serve would be looking for people to be a little more compassionate. Rather than helping these poor women and children that have already been through so much, the Hollywood Avenue residents want them to live downtown where it is not safe to go out at night without getting shot. The residents think that a bigger home or a home in the country would be better. Maybe so, but did it dawn on you that any organization that helps people is often surviving solely on donations and maybe all they can afford is a little 2 bedroom home in your tiny little stuck-up neighborhood. Maybe they don't have a car and it would be nice for the children to be able to walk safely to school! Are you going to take them to school or pay for their busing? This is another sad day in the history of Tracy where the Hollywood Avenue residents clearly don't care about anyone but themselves. So much for trying to make Tracy a better place to live.
justinpigg@comcast.net
|
September 13, 2013
We live in a great neighborhood. We had car break in last year, until my husband took care of it personally, sending the robbers to jail for 10 years. Crime is everywhere, especially in nice neighborhoods. The thing that is not common is accountability within our human race. It is our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and to right the wrongs in our community. it is the attitude of the residents seen in Hollywood drive that raise such arrogance in these men, men who abuse only do so with the conviction that they are taught by their parents that people always err in the side of minding their own business and protecting their interest, exactly what these people have done. I live in a great neighborhood, great because we look out for one another and know how to clean up other parent's mistakes. it is people like these who raise men like that, and I would hate karma to have their daughters show up one day in our shelters. I cannot imagine being that scared, self invested and helpless. I don't mean the battered victims, they atleast have courage, I mean the residents in Hollywood drive. God protect me from ever being that simple.

Read more: Tracy Press - Wo
McKendrick
|
September 14, 2013
If this is a non profit that survives solely on donations then they could have got a lot more bang for their buck somewhere else. This "little 2 bedroom home in [a] tiny little stuck-up neighborhood" was listed for $330,000 and had multiple offers. Not only could they have gotten a larger, newer home for the same amount or less, but they intended to cram 10 women, their children (if any), and care takers into a 2 bdrm, 2 bath house. Could you imagine 10 women getting ready for work in the morning sharing 2 bathrooms? Or 10 women parking their 10 cars along the entire block? A 4 or 5 bdrm, 3 bath home or a few apartments in a complex with ample parking would be better suited for sheltering 10 women.


We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at tpnews@tracypress.com.