Housing task for homeless girls, children slated for Panorama bluffs draws opposition from neighbors | News

Ideas to change a solitary-household property overlooking the bluffs of northeast Bakersfield into a transitional

Ideas to change a solitary-household property overlooking the bluffs of northeast Bakersfield into a transitional residence for homeless girls and youngsters has drawn opposition from neighbors but gained an endorsement from the city’s arranging division last week to proceed. 

The Bakersfield Planning Fee on Thursday will keep a public listening to to contemplate a request to let a community team to acquire and operate a household for up to six gals and their young children at a time prior to the households go into much more lasting housing situations at 1421 Panorama Drive, on the corner of Haley Street.

The task, named Casa Esperanza Transitional Dwelling for Women of all ages & Small children, is the result of six several years of do the job by a group of locals who want to make a sustainable impression on the trouble of homelessness. Because the property is in an spot zoned for single-loved ones residences, the team ought to obtain a conditional use permit.

No one particular appears to problem the have to have for this kind of a venture. 

“Transitional housing projects like Casa Esperanza are significant to our efforts to tackle homelessness, as they support individuals going through homelessness establish on their own and create stability until eventually lasting housing gets out there,” mentioned Anna Laven, executive director of the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative.

In Kern County, Laven said, quite a few individuals are waiting for reasonably priced long-lasting housing and so-identified as transitional housing like the proposed Casa Esperanza bridges that gap concerning homelessness and long-time period stability.

The job proponents say they dependent their designs on equivalent transitional households in Los Angeles and the Bay Region. Alexandria Property in Los Angeles has been all-around for much more than two decades and has served shut to 200 households, in accordance to its web site.

“We’re not a drug and alcohol rehab center, we’re not a shelter, we’re not a harmless residence for females actively fleeing domestic violence. We are a property wherever females appear to reconstitute their lives, make a everyday living system and make that intergenerational change,” reported Jim Mosher, an oil and gasoline expert who also is a donor to Casa Esperanza and serves on its board of administrators. “When individuals young ones have distinctive futures, which is the social dividends that occur residence.”

But is a community of solitary-relatives homes the right spot for the job?

For Kristen Urquidez, who shares 230 toes of fence line with the residence, the remedy is no.

In letters to the Setting up Fee, Urquidez and other neighbors make apparent they assist the thought and intent of the job: serving to a susceptible population escape homelessness. But there’s a large amount at stake for residents of the community if the venture isn’t really effective, she reported.

“This is the to start with transitional dwelling for Casa Esperanza so it’s kind of an experiment for them and I’d loathe for it not to go suitable for them and the community can take the brunt of the impacts,” Urquidez said.

Uquridez, a significant school science instructor, has expended appreciable time learning about the venture and stated Casa Esperanza differs from the homes the team points to as models for the venture. Those homes are located in areas zoned for multi-spouse and children dwellings, she stated. One particular of the founders of Alexandria House in Los Angeles lives on-website comprehensive-time and also has a staff of volunteers and employees who get the job done with her.

But Casa Esperanza would hire a residential assistant to get the job done at the residence though board members would primarily do fundraising, she claimed. Urquidez worries the man or woman who life on-web page may well be clean out of school with no extensive instruction in social get the job done or knowledge in how to control challenges that could occur.

She also notes there is no cap on the variety of residents who can continue to be at the home nor is it obvious how the inhabitants will be picked for the plan and if they may perhaps come from outside Bakersfield or Kern County. 

After attending two conferences with the group this summer, she feels her considerations have not been sufficiently tackled.

“I hope some of these very little particulars will trigger the Planning Commission to pause and say ‘OK, that’s a thing that demands to be dealt with,'” Urquidez reported. 

The city has been given 17 letters and a petition signed by additional than 100 residents opposing the undertaking.

The place on Panorama Travel is a 3,652-square-foot household with seven bedrooms, a loved ones room, a playroom, an workplace and a kitchen area/dining area. In accordance to a report by the city’s preparing section, the homeowners used the home for foster treatment given that 1999 with an average of 16 persons residing in the home.

If Casa Esperanza buys the property, which is contingent on it getting approval for the conditional use permit, its ideas also contain significant enhancements to the property, which includes setting up sidewalks, fencing and landscaping.

The neighborhood has lengthy been a notable and affluent just one that overlooks the bluffs, but it has altered in excess of the yrs as Bakersfield has developed. 

“We’re clear. We’re about obtaining this right. We are all about getting a companion, not a issue,” stated Mosher. “We want to make the community a safer, better neighborhood.” 

Mosher acknowledged there is no express barring of women of all ages and their small children from exterior of Bakersfield but would not foresee that will be the situation. He said in recommending the undertaking, the city’s setting up workers requires the venture to abide by its household and functioning principles that lay out demanding steps for residents to comply with, thus making sure the household will be run properly and in a harmless fashion. 

But Urquidez, pointing to the group’s absence of knowledge in this place, wonders what will materialize if it will not get the job done out that way.

“Our only recourse is to report items to code enforcement until finally it will become clear to the metropolis there is certainly a challenge and then there is one more hearing,” she mentioned.

If Casa Esperanza didn’t perform out and the residence was marketed, the sought-soon after permit stays with the assets, Urquidez said, but inhabitants will have no say in what ever they propose to do.

There likely would not be a possibility, she explained, to ever return the house back again to a one-family residence.

The city Scheduling Fee can vote to approve or deny the undertaking, continue the listening to or refer the challenge again to planning workers. If accepted or denied, the decision can be appealed to the Metropolis Council.