Town Square

Menlo Park examines sites for homeless shelter zoning

Original post made on Sep 17, 2013

As Menlo Park starts work on a second update to the city's housing plan, its goals include identifying sites to zone for potential homeless shelters and developing an amnesty program for granny units built before the city legalized them in June.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 9:34 AM


Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

The Menlo Park city staff has outdone itself, having hatched the bright idea of potentially placing a homeless shelter smack in our downtown residential area, adjacent to our central business district and practically abutting both Fremont Park and Nealon Park. Brilliant. That should draw plenty of shoppers to Draegers et al. What a great way to ensure “vibrancy” in our downtown.

Posted by CCB
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

There's never a convenient place to put a homeless shelter. But I will say that the presence of the Opportunity Center near Town and Country doesn't seem to be hurting business there much. And downtown Palo Alto has a large number of homeless people hanging out, but parking there always seems to be tough to find as well.

I suspect, sadly, that we've become inured to the sight of homeless individuals and I doubt that their presence does much to dissuade us from running out to buy organic raspberries or salmon spread or single-malt at Draeger's.

More to the point, my hunch is that any shelter that Menlo Park does build will probably be used by the more functional members of the homeless population.

A different, more disturbing subset (including those who are suffering severe mental illness or substance abuse) will probably not avail themselves of the shelter for myriad reasons better understood by the case workers who spend their lives trying to help. They will continue to seek shelter outdoors, or on buses, or in churches. I doubt you'll see more of them in the downtown area than you already do, Downtowner.

Posted by Alex B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Develop an amnesty plan for existing granny units ????
Can't our politicians find something worthwhile to do? Now they want to go
back and charge building fees, etc on units that have alrady existed for
30 or 40 years? Another opportunity to charge a fee !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by The Big Lib
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Let's rename Fremont Park to the People's Park. Tents up by 11pm and down by sun-up. Other than the few regulars down town they are usually shuffled up the hill to Palo Alto.

Posted by What Would Menlo Park Residents Do?
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

OMG, a homeless shelter in Menlo Park?! Near our children's schools?!

Just read this new article about a homeless man and what he did in Boston and you'll be shocked. Web Link

On a more serious note, short term emergency housing for displaced residents, families is necessary and there will be ample volunteer opportunities for residents of Menlo Park to help make a difference in the community and volunteer to help out those less fortunate. Web Link

Most of the organizations providing services to the homeless have been changing their focus away from a band aide approach and looking towards providing long term affordable housing as a way to curb homelessness in the community.
Imagine a community that isn't afraid to help and have affordable housing and yes, even an emergency shelter in our "backyard".

Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

I'm sure Save Menlo would take the position that real villages don't have homeless people and therefore don't include such shelters. Just banish them from the village to the outside lands.

Posted by Simple solution
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

Let's take any opportunity to bash SaveMenlo! I'm sure that some of you can find a way to criticize them on the threads about cycling accidents too!

With so few homeless people, why build any kind of shelter? There are many motels on El Camino; the city can contract for rooms with them. Problem solved at a much lower cost than building a whole new facility without the incumbent problems (see the many complaints about the Opportunity Center in the Weekly's Town Square).

Posted by The Big Lib
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I didn't know Menlo Park needed saving. Since Jesus saves, perhaps they can find what they need at the many churches located within.

Posted by Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Willow Oaks Park would be the perfect place to put a homeless shelter.