More than 2,100 people had signed a Change.org petition by Friday night to block a proposed homeless shelter in Rocklin.
Placer Rescue Mission’s Campus of Hope would sit on eight to 12 acres of county-owned land, and would include 280 beds for homeless people in the county, said board president Brooke Stephens. Placer County is conducting a feasibility study on the site.
Opponents of the proposal, including local attorney Denise Dirks, say there aren’t enough homeless people in Rocklin to merit a shelter of this size.
The website for “Stop the Shelter – Concerned Citizens of South Placer County” references the famous line from “Field of Dreams:” “If you build it, they will come.” That sums up well the concerns about Campus of Hope.
“What we know about Auburn is they had a homeless population of maybe 55 [people],” said Dirks. “They put in a 50-bed shelter, and the homeless population has doubled. That’s what we know – we don’t want to repeat that.”
But at the Auburn shelter run by Volunteers of America, spokesperson Elizabeth Sands says the need for more shelter does exist in Placer County. In January, the county survey found that there were more than 660 homeless people in Placer County.
“They’re not getting bused here. They are walking up here and asking for services,” said Sands.
Stephens said the industrial area on which Placer Rescue Mission wants to locate its shelter is ideal, because it’s not close to homes or parks. The organization is also looking at establishing residency requirements to address some opponents’ fears.
“I think that one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that we’re going to build this and attract people from all over Northern California. That’s not why we formed,” Stephens added.
Placer County says Placer Rescue Mission is tentatively scheduled to deliver an update on the project proposal to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 14.