Strong opposition changes city plans for homeless shelter in Chinatown

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Three years ago, Chinatown residents came out strongly opposing a project to build a ‘Housing First‘ complex project along River Street.

The complex would have provided housing for the homeless.

At the time, many were concerned about the safety of the children and seniors walking around the neighborhood.

“We’re not against homeless housing but it was the character of the Housing First which basically would have catered to those with mental illness and drug problems,” Concerned Citizens on River Street Housing member Wesley Fong said.

Fong says as a result of the strong opposition the city stopped pursuing to build the shelter.

Recently, City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga introduced a resolution to develop affordable housing at the site instead.

“It’s an ideal place for seniors and young people to congregate and meet and organizations to use and give an opportunity to the seniors who can afford to buy their own home in Chinatown,” Fong said.

Although, plans for the project are still in the preliminary stages, residents are hopeful the idea will continue to move forward.

They hope the top floor will be a multicultural community center with a daycare below.

And, a 6-9 story building with about 90 units would be built behind the center.

About 80 organizations are in support of the senior housing.

“We’ve been proactively working towards a senior housing complex for years now since the start of it 2009 and I guess the work now is showing fruit now,” Lum Sai Ho Tong President Howard Lum said.

The Lum Sai Ho Tong temple is located right next door. Lum says he is hopeful about the possible changes.

“It will clean up the area for one thing and it will allow more local people to you know visit the area because its cleaner and safer,” Lum said.

The resolution still needs to approved by the full council before it can move forward.

A city council meeting to adopt the resolution is scheduled for September 11, 2013.

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