EDITOR: This is in reference to the Sunday article about Social Advocates for Youth's initial proposal to establish housing and emergency support at the old Warrack Hospital (“Plan for Warrack site stirs passions”). This poorly designed, unmonitored high-density housing for at-risk adults, with counseling for people with criminal histories, addiction and gang involvement, would be plopped in a low-density residential area having five elementary schools, many preschools and a significant population above the age of 75 — our most vulnerable citizens. SAY's proposal doesn't fit successful housing models for transitional and troubled adults or government-funding policies and is based on incorrect assumptions of need and utility.
Who wins? Sutter gets a tax write-off. The city of Santa Rosa gets housing points, SAY gets a site needing millions of dollars of renovation that it cannot afford and housing it has no experience managing. The neighborhood gets to give involuntary, non-deductible continuing donations of their home equity, personal safety and quality of life. No studies of communities like ours exist showing a positive impact to residents near such projects. There are studies showing negative effects in similar circumstances.
Every household contacted in the immediate neighborhood is prepared for a protracted court battle to protect their homes. Who wins?
A silver lining
EDITOR: I am so tired of not-in-my-backyard people. This is directed at those in my neighborhood who are fighting Social Advocates for Youth's effort to open a group home at the old Warrack Hospital. I am a 30-year Bennett Valley resident, and I welcome these young people in my backyard.
SAY has an excellent reputation for helping young people get on their feet and resolve their problems. SAY gives these kids stability in their lives so they can move forward to a productive future. They are not “bad” kids. Many were put in foster care homes for reasons beyond their control, perhaps because of their home life or because they have no one to take care of them.
I see a silver lining to this for me, other commuters and those who have no other transportation than Santa Rosa Transit. As someone who takes the city bus everywhere, I've been annoyed at the city of Santa Rosa for cutting bus routes, including mine. These young people will need transportation to and from work and school. The city will need to run the bus every half-hour to accommodate this increase in ridership.