Woodland Leaders Push Plan For Tent City

WOODLAND (CBS13) – It’s a unique solution to California’s growing homeless crisis: Woodland city leaders are considering a plan to build a new outdoor encampment for the homeless.

The proposal could help people off the streets, but some are concerned it could cause more problems.

Monica Rowland is one of more than 270 people in Woodland without permanent housing.

“It’s pretty tough,” Rowland said. “For like six months now.”

And now Woodland city leaders are launching new efforts to get homeless like her off the streets.

“We need to solve this issue, we can’t kick this down the road,” said Woodland Mayor Enrique Fernandez.

Mayor Fernandez supports setting up a city-sanctioned encampment where up to 60 homeless could stay in tents and have access to basic services like restrooms and showers.

“We’re going to be very selective as to who resides in this encampment,” Fernandez said. “We’re going to have security, fencing, and anybody who doesn’t abide by the rules will be removed.”

Doug Zeck runs Woodland’s only year-round homeless shelter, which provides meals and a safe place to sleep for 65 people.

He supports the plan.

“Living in a tent city is probably not ideal for anybody, but a safe place where we can start having good conversations and building relationships with individuals is going to be needed,” Zeck said.

Some are concerned an encampment could hurt nearby neighborhoods

“I would not want to have a house next door,” said a Woodland resident. “It’s going to make the values go down in housing it’s going to make more crime and stuff and drug use.”

But Mayor Fernandez says it’s better to have homeless in a centralized location where they can receive counseling and other services.

“I’m not giving up on these people, they’re in my city and I’m going to take responsibility of them,” Fernandez said.

No specific site had been selected yet but city officials hope to have it open before the end of the year.

Longer-term plans call for building several dozen new micro homes to help house homeless.

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