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Palm Springs Council continues debate on potential site for homeless navigation center

The Palm Springs City Council continued discussions Thursday evening on a number of agenda items, including the possible location of a new homeless navigation center.

There are several industrial buildings under consideration to begin construction on the facility, with the two main contenders located on McCarthy Road and E. Ramon Road.

3589 McCarthy Road
4775 E. Ramon Road

Palm Springs resident Kathy Larsen expressed displeasure at the idea of having new transitional housing for the homeless next door to where she lives. 

She's a resident at the Palms Springs Villas II and she serves on the Board of Directors as Vice President. 

Larsen believes the new project "will kill our property value" and discourage people from wanting to liver in her community.

She explained that the majority of residents that live at Palms Springs Villas II are senior citizens or seasonal residents, and added she doesn't want the city to choose the McCarthy location near her home.

Larsen also said that “crime at this end of town is not good anyway. We’ve got a pot store on the corner, we’ve got gang bangers behind us, there’s shooting in this area constantly. The homeless are not going to help that, they’re going to make it worse.”

The City of Palm Springs told News Channel 3 that the McCarthy location is high on the council's list because it meets certain criteria. 

Palm Springs City Manager, Justin Clifton, said "you need a certain scale -- both of developed buildings and other property that might be used for outdoor activities including a playground associated with childcare. We’ve discussed things like RV parking because some of the homeless actually still have vehicles that they live in.”

Photo from outside Palm Springs Public Library

Meanwhile, Kathy Larsen said she wants the Palm Springs City Council “to put it down on Ramon where it belongs in an industrial place, rather than a residential community.”

Some Palm Springs residents called into the council's meeting Thursday night, just as they did last week and shared their thoughts and concerns on the potential sites for the project.

Most residents agree that the city's rising homeless problem needs to be addressed, but not everyone agrees on where new transitional housing for the homeless should be built.

While local organizations, such as Martha's Village & Kitchen, offer wraparound services to those experiencing homelessness, there is currently no overnight homeless shelter west of Indio.

The City of Palm Springs has been exploring ways to locally address what's become a worsening statewide homeless crisis, which includes sites where the homeless can seek overnight shelter and access to other resources.

Palm Springs City Manager, Justin Clifton, said the council has no set date for when a location for the project will be chosen or when development will begin.

He added, “it’s really a myriad of factors that we’re all balancing and certainly the perceptions of the public are one of those. My experience is -- it’s very difficult to locate something like a navigation center anywhere, without having some people object to the location.”

Stay with News Channel 3 for new developments on this story.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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