Reporting Nick Janes
TRACY (CBS13) — The San Joaquin Women’s Shelter says the overwhelmingly negative response from neighbors in Tracy who don’t want the shelter on their street.
Many of the homeowners have lived on the block for decades on one of Tracy’s most desirable streets. Not one person we talked to was in favor of a shelter for domestic-abuse victims moving into their neighborhood.
“It’s a little unnerving, it’s a little shocking,” said center CEO Joelle Gomez.
In her 20 years, Gomez says this is a first.
“I’ve never experienced such adversity, such negative responses to our work.”
The women’s center is scrapping plans to turn a Tracy home on Hollywood Avenue into a shelter for battered women and children.
A few doors down, Charles says he doesn’t want to seem insensitive, but he’s relieved.
“We’re kinda excited look at the street as you can see it’s a beautiful street we don’t really want that here.”
When Gomez called a public meeting last week, 50 neighbors showed up to voice a litany of concerns, the message was clear.
“So somewhere else, not here.”
Some were worried about increased traffic, while others thought abused would come looking for their victims.
“If they find out there could be trouble so we don’t want that trouble here we bought this house to raise our kids,” said Charles.
That’s a scenario the women’s center stresses has never happened since the nonprofit’s inception in 1982, since the shelters are at a secret location.
“I made that statement several times to the neighbors and the response was, well, we don’t want to be the first,” Gomez said.
Though technically she says they could have moved in anyway, Gomez says the center is moving on, and looking for a place where clients will be welcomed with open arms.
“My belief is don’t waste time on negative energy find a place that will embrace you.”
And so the house stays vacant as the women’s center looks elsewhere in Tracy while the center’s clients are housed at a shelter in Stockton.