By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – The Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to move forward a CalWorks Lease at Pacifico. Under the proposal, two of the Pacifico buildings would house families who are CalWORKs Housing Support Program participants.
CalWORKs utilizes a Housing First model which prioritizes assessment and referral/placement to appropriate housing as soon as possible. It provides supportive services as needed, such as recreational and social activities, employment programs, and civil, legal and educational activities.
The program would utilize the current layout of Pacifico to house up to 38 families, focusing on smaller families with household sizes of three or less.
The city would provide exclusive use of Buildings A and B, as well as adjacent exterior space to Yolo County for the purposes of siting a CalWORKs program to house families who are designated Yolo County CalWORKs participants
Buildings C and D, however, would continue to be leased to income-qualified people in accordance with the current affordable housing covenant on the property and the city’s affordable housing program.
Tracy DeWit speaking on behalf of the Oakshade West Neighborhood Association, speaking during public comment, noted, “for the last five years, I’ve been trying to bring attention to the Pacifica buildings and to the needs of the residents there, as well as the unintended consequences of the surrounding neighborhood.”
She asked for the lease to be reduced to three years, the density kept low, “not to more than 20 families” and “you should involve the community on the capacity, on the funds and how those funds are spent, as well as the choices of property management at Pacifico.”
She further said, “We request that no convicted criminals should be housed there, that there should be 24 hour onsite security indefinitely that the case managers be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the residents success as well as the safety for all remove the benches between Drew and Sapphire.”
She added, “you must build a wall that extends the length of the entire single family homes actually extends onto the Sharps and Flats Property.”
“Please be considerate and mindful of your decisions and how they affect your citizens daily lives. This is their long term home and not just a temporary situation, please create an environment that is as if it was your own personal living space,” Dewit concluded.
Georgina Valencia, a former member of the Social Services Commission and current member of the Planning Commission, said that she lives in South Davis in proximity to Pacifico.
She complained that at some of the neighborhood, commission and Board of Supervisors meetings, “There have been a number of public comments and concerns that frankly, in my opinion, are tantamount to nimbyism. And I think that’s from my point of view, a real disappointment in some of our community members.”
Valencia said, “This is clearly a good use of an asset that the city and the community own it’s been sitting is already stated for a very long time not being utilized. And this project really offers a good opportunity to support families and really do the right thing for these families.”
She acknowledged, “We don’t know what’s going to happen when we move the first families in there, but my greater anxiety really is with leaving those families on the street. It’s clearly not the right thing to do. We need to lend a hand and help people.”
The council was very supportive of the proposal and pushed back on some of the concerns.
Councilmember Josh Chapman, who represents that part of Davis, noted, “This proposal, if it is approved tonight is the beginning of the process.” He said, “For me, I think that the work, if we move forward this evening, the work that is going to make this program successful is what’s going to be done in the next month and a half around the management plan.”
He noted that a proposal to end security after the first year “has been removed” from the lease and “that’s in there in perpetuity.” He said, “I’m definitely supportive of that.”
Mayor Gloria Partida was part of the subcommittee that worked on this for quite some time, “(We) clearly have heard the concerns of the neighborhood. I think we’ve come a long way in understand the problems that led to the discontent in the neighborhood.”
She said she’s hopeful that will enable them to come up with solutions “so that it can be successful for the people that really desperately need this housing.”
She added, “I think oftentimes, our citizens forget, that we have a number of programs in our community that serve members of our community that need services that need help. And those programs have operated successfully for many, many years in our community.”
Councilmember Dan Carson said, “I am sympathetic to the problems that this neighborhood experienced, especially when I first got involved with this issue after coming on the council.”
He said, “my observation, and I look at the side, every chance I get is that things have improved considerably and that this agreement will make things better still.”
Carson added that while the voices of concern of the neighborhood are valid, “the voices that are not here are the voices of those children. I got to tell you, we’ve got to think about that before the children and their parents get involved in programs like this.”
He said, “These children are traumatized from couch surfing from one awful place to another. These children are traumatized by families that are dealing with alcoholism and drug abuse sometimes and domestic violence.”
He said, “We have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to help them. I don’t care if they’re from Davis or West Sac or Winters or Woodland. We, we have a moral obligation to help them. I think this is a sound proposal that, like I said, will make things better for the neighborhood, but it will save these children.”
The council voted unanimously to move the lease forward.