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A proposal for homeless housing is withdrawn in Fullerton, for now

A nonprofit has withdrawn its proposal to build a 60-unit, long-term housing facility for homeless people at Commonwealth and Basque avenues in Fullerton.

Pathways of Hope Executive Director David Gillanders said three factors led to the withdrawal: the pending November election; the potential for more grant funding from the state; and federal lawsuits, such as one restricting anti-camping ordinances, that may push cities to build shelters to prevent sleeping on public property.

The housing would have targeted those struggling with chronic homelessness, often because of mental or physical disabilities, Gillanders said. The residents would have access to services such as addiction counseling, medical treatment or physical therapy.

A 2017 study found nearly 2,600 homeless people living in the county without a shelter. A federal civil rights lawsuit has been pressuring the county and cities to find shelter for hundreds of homeless residents, including many who formerly lived in the encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail.

Some neighbors have intensely opposed the Pathways of Hope proposal for months, since it was presented to the Fullerton City Council in June.

Philip Bromley, a Fullerton resident leading the opposition, said he was troubled by the facility’s proximity to Pacific Drive Elementary School.

He was not opposed to the idea of supportive housing, he said, adding he identified a possible alternative location in the city’s industrial area at the corner of Elm and Raymond avenues.

“We do need to have some sort of a solution to this issue,” he said.

But Gillanders said Pathways of Hope’s proposed site works in several ways.

The property is city-owned and not bordered by housing. But it’s not completely isolated from the community, either, he said, adding the residents need access to services.

“In Southern California, there’s nowhere you can build this where you won’t meet resistance,” he said. “You have to go into it recognizing you’re always going to have resistance.”

Pathways of Hope plans to return to the council early next year with a proposal; Gillanders said the group may change the location or details of the site.

“We are not married to the location as much as something needs to happen,” Gillanders said.

Source: Orange County Register

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