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Elk Grove residents concerned over proposed affordable housing site for homeless individuals

The plan has many residents outraged, left with concerns about what the project will bring to the quiet and peaceful area, and worried for their own safety.

ELK GROVE, Calif. — The Elk Grove Planning Commission is considering approval of the Oak Rose Apartment Project. It would bring 67 affordable housing units to an empty lot in the Old Town historic district and offer permanent supportive housing along with support services for homeless individuals.

The plan has many residents outraged, left with concerns about what the project will bring to the quiet and peaceful area, and worried for their own safety including Jackie Perez, who has owned and operated Jackie's Flowers for 35 years. For the past 22 years, Perez has been running her shop on Elk Grove Boulevard next to an empty field where the site would be built if approved.  

"I'm very concerned. Everybody is in old Elk Grove," said Perez. "There's probably 10 feet on the side of my house where the building would be, so anytime I go outside which is multiple times a day, I'll be worried somebody might be there to meet me if I go change my water. I'm worried somebody will be in the backyard which no one would see if something happened to me — it's just a very scary feeling."

The city of Elk Grove says the project application was submitted under Senate Bill 35 and is part of a regional effort to address homelessness. The city also emphasizes that since it's a private development project, they have no control over whether a property owner wants to develop affordable housing on a given site. Perez agrees something should be done to address the issue of homelessness but says it shouldn't be built on Elk Grove Boulevard next to her business and near residential areas.

"There's been a lot of people suggesting other locations where there's more hospitals and things closer," said Perez. "We don't have a problem helping the homeless, we just don't want it right in the middle of town where all of our kids' safety and all of our safety is gonna be compromised."

If the site is approved, Perez says she might end up closing her business.

"I'd probably be so sad because I've been doing it for 35 years and I love this house. It's 107-years-old. It's part of our family. We wanted it here forever so I don't know what I'm gonna do," said Perez. 

The city says the project isn't likely to attract more homeless individuals to area because there's no shelter component to the property. The city also says the permanent housing units would be filled through a centralized process. However, Perez says she and other concerned residents plan on remaining vocal at City Council meetings and proposing alternative solutions.

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