STOCKTON (CBS13) — Former Stockton City Councilman Ralph Lee White is proposing a controversial solution for the city’s homeless crisis.
He wants to turn the San Joaquin County fairgrounds’ horse stables, into a shelter. And he says he’s willing to put a million dollars into the idea.
“So what I’m doing is a crazy idea to help over 1,500 people,” White said. This is a people problem, not a personal problem. Let’s work with me, let’s get ’em off the streets, and then let’s come together and figure out what else can make it better for them.”
Right now the horse stables look like something you’d expect for a horse to live in, made of nothing but wood, and dirt floors. White says he’d add concrete and electricity. White has written to the fair board asking for support.
“And there needs to be a solution, I’m just not sure this is the right one,” San Joaquin County Fairgrounds CEO Kelly Olds said.
Stockton homeless advocate Bill Mendelson, says White’s good intentions are misguided.
“Turning a stable into housing isn’t the answer,” Mendelson said. “And 1,800 people? In one space? I mean, imagine what that would be like.”
White has made big headlines in Stockton for decades, none bigger than his boxing match with Muhammad Ali in 1982. It raised thousands for underprivileged children.
Now White is entering a new fight, taking a swing at Stockton’s homeless crisis. Putting up his own money on a bet he came turn horseracing stables into homeless shelters.
It’s bet that’s not everyone’s favorite.