Council Looks to Finalize Respite Center Despite Pushback

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A little over a month ago, the council shifted gears and directed staff to pursue a pilot daytime respite center on the City’s Public Works Corporation Yard located at 1717 Fifth Street.  This followed pushback about the proposed Second Street location and a re-evaluation of the corporation yards.

Among the reasons cited by council: “The site is centrally located and near other social services such as Yolo County’s Helen Thomson Health and Human Services Center.”

In addition, “The site offers a large enough footprint to accommodate the proposed amenities and services and is City owned and controlled.”

Finally, “The site features a level of existing infrastructure that did not exist on the other city-owned parcels. Such infrastructure includes several buildings and utility hookups. These features significantly reduce start-up time and costs.”

By Yolo County’s 2019 point-in-time-count, roughly 190 persons experience homelessness on any given night.  Of those, “114 experience unsheltered homelessness and the remaining 76 experience sheltered homelessness. This number reflects a 30% increase from the last point-in-time count from 2017 when the number of persons experiencing homelessness was 146.”

However, “staff believes the 190 count does not fully portray what is happening on the streets.”

According to public safety officials, “the homeless situation in Davis has reached a public health emergency. There are individuals currently living, or staying for long periods of time both during the day and night, in parks, greenbelts, open space areas, and along water drainage canals.”

The pilot program would come at some cost to the city.  Estimates from the city place a six-month cost at $316,197, but a yearly cost at $450,394.

The respite center idea has incurred opposition, first from the Mace Ranch neighborhood and now from the Davis Manor neighborhood.

Previously, staff noted they anticipate “opposition to any location selected.”

As before, staff writes, “It is unlikely any mitigation measures would change the view of those who oppose this location.”

In a Change.org petition, there are some concerns about the safety of an alleyway and the park.

From the Change.org petition, “This proposal has grossly neglected an utmost issue: the safety and security of our schoolchildren, the most vulnerable population.”

They add: “The impact of proposed homeless/respite shelter, including but not limited to sanitary risks, substance abuse, and potentially illegal activities, cannot be effectively shielded from our children. While we feel strongly that the issue of homelessness must be addressed in every city, we also believe that the safety of our children and elderly drastically outweighs the benefits of this proposed location.”

One resident of Davis Manor, however, painted a more optimistic picture of the response from the neighborhood and noted that about 40 people came out on November 23 at a Davis Manor Neighborhood meeting.

The organizer told the Vanguard that about two-thirds support the center at the location “if done well,” while another third was opposed “no matter what.”

They told me: “Almost all the concern is from the folks who live on Pomona with their backyard fences on the corridor between N St Park and the Community Gardens. They have had several instances of people climbing over and breaking into their houses. They are genuinely and deeply fearful, especially the two elderly woman living next door to each other and a woman who has been assaulted in the past, though not in Davis.”

The individual also told the Vanguard of about 114 unsheltered homeless individuals, only about 40 or so are using overnight shelter.  The rest have either been “banned” or have “self-selected.”

That concern is echoed by some longtime homeless advocates, who believe that the respite center is not going to get chronically homeless individuals to trek from their campsites to the respite center or to an overnight shelter.

In a recent outreach session, Mayor Brett Lee, of whose idea this was, said, “You’re not a bad person if you have concerns about this facility.”

He then added that “hopefully by going through this process today, we will hear about some of your concerns and we’ll be able to figure out what we can address. And I’m confidant that we can address the majority of your concerns.”

He further added that “it’s going to be under a lot of scrutiny, and that’s my plan. This is a pilot. We want a lot of involvement. We want a lot of eyes. We want to know what we get right and what we get wrong.”

Chief Pytel said, “While I can completely understand some of the concerns from neighbors about the location of a respite center, and the type of presence that may bring, and the potential for some of the disorder and increases in crime… right now the crime is occurring all over town, it’s extremely difficult to police, and it’s extremely difficult to get people help, and to provide services when they’re all over.”

He said, while he’ll listen to neighbor concerns, “this is something I need to take a much stronger position on now, publicly.  I am an absolute supporter of the respite center concept and having designated areas in town that people can go (to) and have some sense of safety and order.”

According to the staff report, “the pilot daytime respite center aims to improve the quality of life for individuals experiencing homelessness in Davis. Open daily for eight hours, the daytime center will provide a safe, temperature-controlled, and welcoming space where individuals can access basic needs resources and services.”

Among the services: individualized case management, permanent housing plans, service linkages, food, laundry, pet kennels, resting areas, restrooms, showers, storage, bike and vehicle parking.

The current staff plan calls for at least two people onsite during hours of operation, with a case manager for homeless outreach services available and daily transportation from the center to the winter shelter intake sites and a host congregation.

Staff also notes there will be a safety plan to address concerns that have been raised about crime in the area and safety of individuals living and working in the facility.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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60 thoughts on “Council Looks to Finalize Respite Center Despite Pushback”

  1. Rik Keller

    In the July 30th staff report, the daytime-only temporary respite center was not the preferred option because it would divert funds and other resources from meeting the most critical goal: providing increased permanent shelter beds. At that point, the projected one-year cost for the option was $186,807. Now, six months later that projected one-year cost has ballooned to $450,394.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      So, what is your issue?  Helping the homeless, or cost effectiveness?

      And other than theoretical philosophizing, what have you ever done, yourself, to help the homeless, and/or providing affordable housing?

      Meant as honest questions, to establish your creds in criticizing others…

      1. Alan Miller

        And other than theoretical philosophizing, what have you ever done, yourself, to help the homeless, and/or providing affordable housing?

        What kind of question is that WM?  No one is required to have done things ‘for’ so-called homeless people in order to speak on the matter.  RK may be a repetitive ****, but he’s right on this.  Just because you have done volunteer work ‘for’ so-called homeless, don’t come across as holier-than-thou.  You are just as holy as the rest of us.  Stand down.

    2. Rik Keller

      While I don’t doubt Mayor Lee’s intentions are good, this is looking increasingly like a misguided effort that has gone off the rails. Costs are massively escalating and the project will divert needed funds and resources from actually addressing the city’s identified priorities for homelessness needs.

      As stated in the 7/7/2019 Staff Report:
      “If the goal is to devise a long-term shelter plan to address the rising number of persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Davis, then staff recommends foregoing all options [for the temporary day-use shelter] in lieu of examining the feasibility of siting a permanent, yearround overnight shelter…While staff recognizes the need to act now, as mentioned above, staff views establishing a permanent, year-round overnight shelter as one of the greatest unmet gaps in the City’s homeless services continuum…”

      And: “Given the workload associated with undertaking both a short-term and a long-term plan, staff recommends foregoing the day shelter component in the short-term and long-term. For the short-term, not only does the City already have the 1111 H Street resource center, but day shelter did not emerge as a top priority from the DOVe action plan or from a needs survey completed by this year’s IRWS participants…”

      As stated in the 11/5/2019 Staff Report, this is a key option instead of doing the temporary day-use only respite center:
      “Shift efforts to increasing support (financially and programmatically) to community based organizations. Rather than establishing a new program, the City could increase support for existing community based programs. For example, the City could increase financial and programmatic support for the IRWS, a volunteer-run shelter operating from December to mid-March….”

      And: “Another example are the numerous programs operated by Davis Community Meals and Housing. DCMH submitted a development application to demolish its existing facility at 1111 H Street and rebuild a new multi-functional homeless services facility. Should the project receive entitlements, DCMH may need City assistance to temporarily relocate its resource center and 10- bed transitional housing project. In fact, the City is beholden to assist DCMH with the relocation of its transitional housing project since the City is the official recipient of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Supportive Housing Program grant that funds the project. Should the project receive entitlements, DCMH may also need long-term assistance operating the facility.”

      There was also this warning that diverting funding to the temporary respite center could impact existing programs such as DavisPathways: ” Unless new funding can be secured, the City may need to discontinue this innovative program, which has yielded positive results. Since being established in March 2016, Yolo County Housing, the program’s operator, permanently housed 20 individuals with 100% remaining stably housed.”

       

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I agree with you on the new funding source point…

        The staff appears to be set to do this: “To offset the appropriation of local funds, staff will aggressively pursue all applicable grant opportunities. For example, staff is assessing the notice of funding availability recently released by the California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council for the Homeless, Housing, Assistance and Prevention grant program.”

        Given everything, I think funding is probably available. The question as to when is important, but perhaps waiting until they have funding might be advisible.

    1. Bill Marshall

      What is the assumption you make on how many people per room?  ($1,000/mo, X 12 = $12,000).

      Meant as honest question…

      Some of the costs in the analysis are one time, start up costs… not on-going…

    2. Rik Keller

      Ron G: good point. And the day-use-only temporary respite center includes no beds.

      Note also that the costs table “does not reflect in-kind contributions” of unknown value and that in the “costs” table  they embedded in a $125,000 “Yolo County cash contribution”. Actual pilot program expenses for one-year operation are therefore at $575,000 and rising—more than 3 times the estimate from July.

      1. Rik Keller

        New calcs: at project costs that have now escalated to $575,000, the City could provide housing for 48 people for 12 months at $1,000!month.

        Or, based on the Vanguard’s projection of $500/month  for the Olive Drive proposal, that would provide for 96 people in  non-shared 1-bedroom apartments. That would almost fully cover the entire Yolo County’ 2019 point-in-time-count of 114 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

        * warning: not reality-based

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          Previously noted:  The cleverest guy on here!

          Your critiques cut right through the “malarkey” (thanks, Joe Biden – now I can’t stop using that word).

          And frankly, your point regarding how the money could be better-spent never would have come to light on here, otherwise. (Seems like even David is acknowledging that, but also notes that external funding might become available – and that this should be ensured, before proceeding.)

        2. Rik Keller

          Ron O.: regarding “cleverest guy on here”… probably damning me with faint praise? 😉

          All I did though was quote from the City staff report from July with some connecting phrases!  No one else appears to have read it (including the City decision-makers). In the land of the blind…

        3. Ron Oertel

          Definitely not “faint praise” – unless I’m suffering from low self-esteem, myself.  😉

          And then there’s some pretty amusing comments from others, at times.  No one on here is a dummy – some just work to obscure points/facts, which sometimes involve denigrating others. With resulting degeneration of comments. (Sometimes, the tone essentially “starts at the top” – in the articles, themselves.)

          Some might call that “muckraking”.

          But what you do (in addition to your “homework”) is to put forth analyses, which are both biting and insightful.

          The Vanguard would do well to hire you as a reporter!

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Alan – I think you’re comment is misplaced here. (A) there is a lot of state money available right now for homeless services, (B) the ask isn’t that much, and (C) the city has done a good job at getting grants in recent years. I think they probably rate a good chance at getting it here.

        4. Ron Oertel

          As usual, I say “build it first”, and worry about the consequences later. 

          Same approach that they’re using for everything else – including bicycle overpasses from Olive, etc. (Which I understand will connect to the train station – for no reason other than to obtain funding. It’s not like those living on the street will be attending UCD, or anything like that.)

          😉

        5. Ron Oertel

          Maybe so.

          One of the “tough calls” involves spending city money, for this proposal.  At a time when some are claiming fiscal deficits.

          And as Rik pointed out – perhaps not even the best use of limited funds (in regard to this issue), at this time.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            There are people who I know and trust on the issue of homelessness who have come down on competing sides of the issue. My problem, there is also a list of reasons to oppose something. But when we do that, then we don’t solve the problem. So the problem keeps getting worse.

        6. Ron Oertel

          I know that you don’t think so, but it seems to me that when individual cities tackle this problem, they become even more of a magnet than they already are.

          Compare Sacramento to Folsom, for example.  Or, San Francisco to many of the surrounding cities.

          Now of course, you can argue that it doesn’t matter – since those folks need help (regardless of which cities end up on the hook for it).

          I previously saved a link to an article (from the LA Times), which described first-person accounts of homeless individuals who specifically traveled to that city, from across the country.  However, the link isn’t working, and I don’t feel like looking for the article at the moment.

          It does appear that the cities which are more “tolerant” are the same ones who end up paying for the bulk of the cost, and which experience the greatest impacts.

          There was also a recent article regarding which neighborhoods in San Francisco request the most-frequent “feces removal”. (Maybe I can find that one.) Apparently, great wealth hasn’t solved the problem.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Here we go:

          “Residents can contact the agency by calling 311, reporting it online or using the 311 app, which allows them to snap a photo of excrement and add a location and even a short description.”

          https://www.sfgate.com/living/article/San-Francisco-neighborhoods-most-feces-311-Mission-14893613.php

          I like how you can provide a “description” – in addition to the photo.

          At times, I think the end of Western civilization is near.  😉

        8. Rik Keller

          Greenwald stated “There  are people who I know and trust on the issue of homelessness who have come down on competing sides of the issue.”Well, why don’t these views ever make it into the half dozen or more articles you’ve published on this issue?

          Greenwald stated “My problem, there is also a list of reasons to oppose something. But when we do that, then we don’t solve the problem. So the problem keeps getting worse.”What if the proposed “solution” keeps us from implementing more  effective solutions to the problems? That’s exactly what the City staff report says will happen with the pursuit of the temporary day-use-only center?

          This is the “just do something/anything” mindset that keeps effective policy from being implemented.

        9. Ron Oertel

          Rik:  “This is the “just do something/anything” mindset that keeps effective policy from being implemented.”

          That mindset can actually create more problems than it fixes.

          David exerts an inordinate amount of repetitive effort describing problems that he has a pre-determined solution for. (Sometimes, it seems like a proposal comes forth, “in search of” a problem.)

          At times, without even obtaining agreement regarding what the problem is, if any. (Not necessarily regarding this particular issue, but in general.)

        10. Mark West

          “This is the “just do something/anything” mindset that keeps effective policy from being implemented.”

          As opposed to the “don’t do anything” mindset that is equally effective. Neither addresses the issues.

        11. Ron Oertel

          Sometimes, there is no issue to be resolved – at least from a citywide perspective.

          If one were to believe everything written on here, you’d think that the city was a hell-hole (or soon to be one).

          An argument might be made that the very solutions that some are putting forth will create a hellhole (e.g., an overly-dense, expensive, but not very well-functioning city – where normal folks can’t even get to a hardware store or the mall – which no longer exist, anyway).

          Essentially, a mini San Francisco.

          The poop removal crews (discussed above) probably aren’t far behind.

        12. Mark West

          “Essentially, a mini San Francisco”

          Davis will never be anything like San Francisco or Los Angeles for that matter. Your continuing obsession with making comparisons between Davis and cities that are orders of magnitude larger is more than silly.

        13. Ron Oertel

          Oh, and of course – no lumberyard, eventually no place to get garden tools sharpened or fixed, car repaired, etc.  😉

          I’ve noticed a significant change, over the past couple of decades.  Traffic, homelessness, loss of services, etc.  More general “unfriendliness”, as well.  (Maybe partly as a result of spending too much time on this blog, though.)

          Of course, UCD is really the overwhelming presence, in Davis.

        14. Rik Keller

          Mark West said “ As opposed to the “don’t do anything” mindset that is equally effective. Neither addresses the issues.”

          You just provided a great example of the “don’t do anything” mindset a day or two ago when you argued against the City pursuing analysis of development capacity and feasibility on vacant and redevelopable commercial/industrial land to further its economic development plans and increase its tax base.

        15. Mark West

          “You just provided a great example…”

          You are a hoot, Rik. You work overtime to block the City from doing anything productive to meet the needs of the community and then personally attack those who don’t share your ‘vision.’ Your false and disingenuous approach to engagement is well known. Thanks for providing a brief moment of entertainment.

          Have a good evening.

  2. Tia Will

    “This proposal has grossly neglected an utmost issue: the safety and security of our schoolchildren, the most vulnerable population.”

    Without making any statement about this particular location or program I would argue that the most vulnerable population ( to violence, theft, injury) are not the school children, but rather the homeless themselves.

    1. Don Shor

      Wondering about the impact on the “community garden”. Has the city pretty much decided to eliminate it, at some point?

      No direct impact, and the city has no plans to eliminate the community gardens.

  3. Ron Oertel

    In a recent outreach session, Mayor Brett Lee, of whose idea this was, said, “You’re not a bad person if you have concerns about this facility.”

    Kind of unfortunate – regarding the need for Mayor Lee to provide this kind of statement.  Seems like it should go without saying, but that it hasn’t always worked that way. (Including from someone else on the council, for that matter.)

    1. Alan Miller

      “You’re not a bad person if you have concerns about this facility.”

      Not-a-bad?   The above statement does go without saying.  It’s almost like saying you are a bad person, as it shouldn’t be said.  Seems like more NIMBY shaming.

  4. Bill Marshall

     It’s not like those living on the street will be attending UCD, or anything like that.

    Untrue.

    I know of a few who either went to UCD, after a period of homelessness (yes, “on the street”), or attended UCD (one actually earned an advanced degree) and ended up “on the street” for a period of time (one, still is)… but they found support folk to help them through the ‘homeless’ times… mostly, individual citizens… government is a ‘collective’ of individuals, ultimately.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I wasn’t referring to homeless individuals, with that comment.  I was referring to the student housing on Olive (the “street” I was referring to), and lack of direct/safe route to campus.  And the fact that the city has approved developments such as Lincoln40, regardless.

      I was using that as a comparative example, regarding proceeding without addressing impacts (such as “hoping” for external funding for a homeless shelter – after-the-fact).

      There’s other local examples of this type of “planning”, as well. Usually with an “assist” from David, in my opinion.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Clarification noted.  I was going by the plain meaning of the words posted.

        I tend to deal with folk as individuals, not in aggregate.  When I have dealt with folk, in the aggregate, I have often erred… a form of “profiling”, as it were…

  5. Alan Miller

    I would argue that the most vulnerable population ( to violence, theft, injury) are not the school children, but rather the homeless themselves.

    One need only site the case of Jack Armstrong, right here in Davis, to negate this:

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/03/perspective-issue-aggressive-homeless-population/

    Will Arnold said “I don’t agree with the narrative that the shelter would make ourselves and our children less safe.   If that is your worry is that homeless folks will attack or otherwise assault you or your kids.  Which is not borne out by the facts or the data that I am aware of . . .  but if that is your worry we are less safe currently, with the homeless population spread to the winds around town”.

    But what of the above?  Have we forgotten this terrible incident?  The effect this had on this family?  Does Will Arnold — or other council-members — or Bob Dunning — just consider that an exception, not to even be mentioned?  I’m not saying the majority of so-called homeless are all violent — far from it.  But this happened, in Davis, and to wash that under the rug isn’t helping the reality narrative either.

    To more specific, because I’ve heard the whole story — a dishelved ‘homeless’ person came up to Jack Armstrong and his family at the Market Place at a restaurant with outdoor tables.  The man approached Jack aggressively, Jack stood up to deflect the man from his family.  The man then threatened, “I’m going to kill you, rape you wife, and f*ck your sons up the *ss!”.  He then reached into his pocket and Jack’s thought was, “I’m going to die, and I won’t be able to protect my family”.

    To summarize, the man didn’t have a gun, and the so-called homeless man was later found and arrested, and it turned out he had a history of this sort of behavior but was free and among the homeless – no surprise.  Jack’s sons, who used to play ‘hobo’ with a pack on a stick, are now terrified of homeless people and have been in therapy ever since over the incident.

    But our kids are safe.

    There is also the case of Anthony Mele in Ventura, murdered with his daughter in his lap:

    https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ventura-restaurant-killing-20180421-story.html

    So let’s not just say our kids are safe vs. our kids aren’t safe.  Both arguments are hyperbolic, extremist, polar-opposite bullsh*t.  Let’s deal with the reality that there is a violent component in what we call the so-called homeless populations, and the neighbors of any facility have reason for concern (as they do today, but there will now be a ‘nucleus’ in their neighborhood).  Our police chief said so in so many words . . .
 paraphrasing, ‘they steal from each other and sexual assault on homeless women by other homeless is rampant’ – does anyone believe that never crosses over to the homed among us?  Clearly it does, and I’ve given examples.  Attempt to rhetorically blow those incidents off as exceptions – to the peril of all.

    1. Robert Canning

      These are terrible incidents, Alan. And they are incidents that are rare and among the thousands of interactions between homeless individuals and those who have more secure lodging, etc. These kinds of incidents are publicized in part because they are the exceptions. Show me the arrest/police report data that suggests that these sorts of incidents are common. There isn’t any.

      1. Alan Miller

        These kinds of incidents are publicized in part because they are the exceptions.

        But are they?  The only reason I heard about this was because the so-called homeless man happened to victimize a radio-talk-show host who I listen to and who I have a good friend in common with.  I don’t know if I ever would have heard of the incident otherwise.

        And as I repeated here many times, I was starting to believe the ‘they are harmless’ rhetoric years ago — until the late officer John (the longtime bike cop) read me, from memory, the rap sheets of a large group of folk hanging out along the fence near the train station — just a few hundred feet from both our homes — and those rap sheets were scary, and his comment to me was, ‘don’t be fooled, these are not good people’.

        Am I saying all homeless are bad people?  Of course not.  But these do-gooders who speak up at City council meetings or feed information to the DV are just telling one side of reality – the side that happens to fit their politics.  And it isn’t the whole story.  Why has NO ONE addressed my comments on the chief’s comments?  Do you all really believe that a population that attacks itself so brutally in the way the chief describes doesn’t leak some of that violence into the community at large?  That’s univision, as in uni-corn-vision.

      2. Alan Miller

        These kinds of incidents are publicized in part because they are the exceptions.

        And furthermore . . . seriously, would we say this about other violent incidents?  I mean, like those armed robberies that took place recently — well, there were only a few of those, so really, those aren’t really crimes reflective of Davis, those are just exceptions, and we really shouldn’t worry about them.

        Or how about the murder of Natalie Cornona?  No big deal everyone, that wasn’t the murder of a young police officer, that was an exception.  Much more an exception than a murder, certainly.

        And those other pesky murders we’ve had recently over the last few years.  Don’t worry people, there aren’t really murders in Davis, people, as most people don’t get murdered — those are just exceptions.

        Glad we cleared that up.

        Which is fine . . . until an exception happens to you or one of your loved ones.

        1. Robert Canning

          Alan:

          1) When I say “rare” I am talking about the overall rate of these events in the population – whether that population is Davis or Sacramento or Yolo County, etc. I use rare in a fairly technical way, sort of like when someone speaks about the rate of disease. The killing of Natalie Corona was a rare event in this context. Simply because it was rare does not make it trivial – or “no big deal” as you say. In fact, it is exactly because it was rare that it WAS a big deal. When I say an event is rare I am not making a judgment about it – it’s a statement about numbers.

          2) When I said that they are publicized IN PART because they are rare I was suggesting that newspapers and journalists don’t often report on the trivial, day-to-day events they encounter or are told about. They don’t report on fender bender accidents for the most part (unless they are in a community of 25 people far away from big cities where these sorts of events are rare) but they do report on fatal auto accidents.

          3) My comment is not a value judgment about the goodness or badness of homeless people. It is about the numbers, the way journalism works, and the inaccuracy of simply using personal anecdotes to prove general points and support public policy. Personal experience is, I believe, only a starting point when having these discussions. Learning from others and also understanding the evidence on both (or many) sides of these complex problems will serve us better.

          I believe, based on personal experience and evidence from a variety of sources (news, the police, research, etc.) that the “homeless” are not a homogenous population and should not be lumped into one general category.

        2. Robert Canning

          You say: “…would we say this about other violent incidents…?”

          We might. The armed robberies you mention are rare or infrequent in Davis. But because they are violent and may be increasing, then it is important to take note, as the police have.

          I hope you don’t believe I am downplaying the significance of these sorts of events. As I said, they are terrible and deserve our attention. My question is how much attention? And in what form?

          Murder is the most serious crime most can think of. It is taken seriously by everyone. That shouldn’t obscure the fact that it is rare compared with other crimes. Just look at the rate of larceny reported by the Chief in council. We have quite a high rate of larceny, but no one seems to be screaming and yelling about it. Larceny probably has an impact on more people in Davis that several other crime categories combined.

          Let me use an extreme example of why it is hard to prevent rare events. Suicide is very, very rare. In California in 2017 4,312 individuals out of >39 million people died by suicide. And because there are so many variables that may lead to suicide, it is extremely difficult to prevent and to predict.

          Re. Natalie Corona’s tragic death. That sort of event is also extremely infrequent and thus difficult to predict and prevent. More frequent events like assault, rape, larceny and other crimes are more frequent, we know more about them and their causes and we can do more.

        3. Alan Miller

          When I say “rare” I am talking about the overall rate of these events in the population

          Even in high crime areas, events are “rare”.  All I’m saying about all this is – the resident’s concerns are not unfounded – that’s the only context here.  Officer John shared with me several other incidents involving dog attacks, a near rape, etc.  I wish he was alive so I could ask him to fill in the details.  But the chief’s talk certainly seemed to state that there was a lot of crime amongst the so-called homeless.  I find it hard to believe it stays ‘contained’ there, or that that is a differentiation.

          I believe, based on personal experience and evidence from a variety of sources (news, the police, research, etc.) that the “homeless” are not a homogenous population and should not be lumped into one general category.

          That is actually my overall point.  So on that we heartily agree.  Until this term is divided into meaningful categories and approaches, we are beyond spinning our wheels, we are grinding our gears.

        4. Alan Miller

          DG, you remember the article a few months ago where people cited back and forth 80% my way and 80% your way, both cited statistics, both could be cited as true, polar opposites and just happened that the 80% for both “sides” happened to go in favor of the very politics the person citing the stats held.  What a surprise.

          So stats, smats.  The editorial says “they” need protection from “us”, the police chief says “they” need protection from “each other”, and most housed people think “they” need protection from “them”.

          What do the stats matter?  Everyone is right.

          And they can PROVE it . . .

        5. Don Shor

          If a statement is neither provable nor falsifiable, it is just a belief. If it is to be considered falsifiable, it must be testable. To be testable, you need evidence which is generally data. Discussing something in the absence of data is conjecture, opinion, or belief. It doesn’t rise to the level of a hypothesis.

          All beliefs can be considered to have equal merit. But when you contradict a testable hypothesis with a belief, you are employing a rhetorical fallacy.
      3. Ron Oertel

        Robert:  “And they are incidents that are rare and among the thousands of interactions between homeless individuals and those who have more secure lodging, etc. These kinds of incidents are publicized in part because they are the exceptions. Show me the arrest/police report data that suggests that these sorts of incidents are common. There isn’t any.”

        They are not “rare”.  Not everything is reported to the police.  I’ve had 2-3 experiences (outside of Davis), myself.  (I did nothing, “nada” to cause it.)  Apparently, just walking by is enough.  (Especially if you decline to offer “requested assistance”.)  Fortunately, I ultimately wasn’t injured.

        At least one former co-worker told me of a similar experience. Again, not reported to the police.

        Someone else told me of another (very serious) incident in Davis (in addition to those described by Alan M.), I believe.  However, I have not researched it.

        1. Robert Canning

          Ron:

          When I say “rare” I am talking about the overall rate of these events in the population – whether that population is Davis or Sacramento or Yolo County, etc. I use rare in a fairly technical way, sort of like when someone speaks about the rate of disease. When I say an event is rare I am not making a judgment about it – it’s a statement about numbers.

          Simply because you have had 2-3 negative experiences with the homeless (or that you know someone who has had negative experiences) does not make it common. It has nothing to do with police reports. And in fact, I bet if you collected the data on incidents reported and those not reported – say by doing a survey of community residents – my hypothesis is that there would still be only a small number of negative incidents. (And by the way, self-report data can be very reliable and valid. It all depends on how it is designed and used.)

          Basing public policy on personal anecdote is not good public policy.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Again, the majority of these incidents are probably not reported.

          I haven’t done any research to determine the frequency of occurrences, one way or another.  I gather that you haven’t, either (despite your belief that it’s “rare”). It might be interesting to do some research, for anyone who was interested (e.g., in Sacramento, San Francisco, etc).

          However, here’s one incident that was reported, which resulted in a clearing-out of a homeless encampment alongside a bike path. (Just an article that I came across, about a year or so ago.)

          https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8337445-181/santa-rosa-bicycle-commuter-beaten

    2. Mark West

      “Let’s deal with the reality that there is a violent component in what we call the so-called homeless populations, and the neighbors of any facility have reason for concern”

      Not an unreasonable position to take. The question I have however is what is the rate or frequency of that ‘violent component’ found within the homeless population compared to the population with homes? Surely not all violent criminals are homeless. If the incidence of violence among community members is similar between the homeless and the homed, then you cannot really claim that having a homeless shelter in a neighborhood will increase the risk of violence. For this, I think it is important to remember that not all violent activity in the community is reported, so simply looking at crime statistics may not provide a complete answer.

      The proposed respite center is approximately two blocks from my house. I am not overly concerned about the impact of that center on my home or my kids. My view is ‘yes, in my backyard.’

      1. Alan Miller

        I addressed much of this in my comments to RC above, but in addition:

        My view is ‘yes, in my backyard.’

        Well, you wouldn’t mind if they build a four-story Trackside in your backyard either.  So I’d call you an exception all around.

    3. Tia Will

      “One need only site the case of Jack Armstrong, right here in Davis, to negate this”

      Citing a single case, no matter how horrific, does not negate a general statement. The unhoused have a unique characteristic that allows them to be identified. They are visible. That does not make them more dangerous than the housed. Illustrative of this point are two other horrific recent events in our community. The Northrup/Maupin murders were committed by a housed teen. Officer Natalie Corona was murdered by a housed man. It is inaccurate and stigmatizing to pretend that the unhoused, simply by being unhoused are more of a threat to children or vulnerable others in the community. If anything, because they do not have a secure place for themselves and their belongings, they are the population most able to be victimized.

       

  6. Bill Marshall

    I believe, based on personal experience and evidence from a variety of sources (news, the police, research, etc.) that the “homeless” are not a homogenous population and should not be lumped into one general category.

    Amen.  One size does not fit all, based on my personal experience and readings…

    Think fifty shades of… bad luck, drugs/alcohol, PTSD/other MH issues… yet,they can be very supportive of one another, and anyone who sincerely tries to help… even when one guy was telling me about the implants the CIA had done to him, monitoring his brain waves, he helped me help with an older guy, who had a combination of drug, alcohol, medical, MH issues going on.  Another guy who definitely was PTSD (Iraq and Afganistan)… but no substance abuse issues, was the leader/mentor/protector for 3 other homeless guys… fit with his training/instincts as an Army NCO (he actually was more concerned about them than he was of himself)… it IS ‘rocket science’…

    Not homogeneous, for damn sure… fifty + shades…

  7. Robert Canning

    Ron O says (in response to my comment above): “Again, the majority of these incidents are probably not reported. … I haven’t done any research to determine the frequency of occurrences, one way or another.  I gather that you haven’t, either (despite your belief that it’s “rare”). It might be interesting to do some research, for anyone who was interested (e.g., in Sacramento, San Francisco, etc).”

    Ron is correct, I haven’t done the research to find out what the rates of homeless on non-homeless crime are. I made an assumption that if these types of incidents were more common (say one to two per day) we would be hearing more about them. There is data about homeless populations and their growth in Davis. The annual surveys done on the homeless population have shown an increase in the number of homeless in Davis over the years.

    I would also say that what the police chief has to say is probably based in the data that he is familiar with – police reports. He is, in that respect, an “expert” on homeless crime in Davis. So I tend to believe him in this area of expertise. Now, of course, you could counter that many incidents go unreported. That’s probably true, but how do you know that and how would we be able to detect those incidents?

    1. Bill Marshall

      “Funny” Robert…

      In the sense that how we “view” interactions varies… over the last 50 years of my life, have come across ‘marginal characters’… one had a knife, and I was prepared to deal with the threat… using lethal force, if necessary… it wasn’t necessary, and I just reported him to  law enforcement person… others, realizing there was a ‘problem’, politely spoke, disengaged, backed away while ‘keeping  my eyes on them’… no problem, no trauma… others, engaged with, was vigilant, but polite and had a “plan B” if I misjudged… no problem, no trauma.  A couple of those I befriended…

      There is a mantra in “survival training”… “prepare for the worst, expect the best”… good mantra.

      There are some of the homeless (or, “so-called homeless”) who are criminal and/or deeply disturbed/drugged… few in %-age, but definitely the purview of law enforcement… have only run into 2-3 of those, in many contacts, over the last 50 years… “annoying” is a different matter… gets to one’s ‘tolerance’ level, have found my ‘tolerance’ level is now pretty high… hell, I had to deal with the public for 40 years as a public employee!  Many “public members” were scarier/more difficult to deal with than the homeless I’ve met!

      1. Bill Marshall

        Got cut off again, with over a minute on the ‘shot-clock’…

        Others have different experiences, different tolerance levels than I do… and I respect that, even if I differ… at the end of the day, I am only able to, be responsible for, my own views/reactions to situations…

        Others ‘mileage’ may vary… past results are no guarantee of future performance… all of that.

         

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