Alameda residents to vote on proposed wellness center for homeless

Alameda voters are taking part in a special election to decide if a federally owned building should be converted into a wellness center for the homeless. 

Measure A, is legislation reaffirming the city council's decision to allow a former USDA testing facility to be converted into a wellness enter for those in need.  

"We've been working very hard to take over this property from the federal government and convert it into a much-needed property for homeless services," said Doug Biggs is with Yes on A No on B.  

"Whatever ends up here needs to compliment Crab Cove and Crowne Memorial State Beach," said Trish Herrera Spencer with No on A Yes on B.  

Those who oppose Measure A, say they're not against helping those in need. Instead, they feel placing it in Alameda isn't conducive to helping the entire homeless population of Alameda County.

"This should be centralized by evidence practice in an area where there's most, to serve them," said 
Liza Gabato Morse with No on A Yes on B.  

"I really am glad that there are people in Alameda who have compassion and want to help people who are the most vulnerable in our community," said Bronwyn Harris with Yes on A No on B. 

The facility on McKay Avenue would provide several services for all of Alameda County.  Housing for homeless seniors 55 and above, a rehab center for homeless people recently discharged from a hospital, health care clinic and a resource center to help those facing homelessness.

Alongside Measure A, is Measure B, an initiative to change the zoning of the land from office professional space to open space. If passed it would prohibit using the parcel of land for the wellness homeless center.  

"It's called an open space initiative but all it does is change the zoning. It doesn't create funds for a park. It doesn't establish a park," said Biggs.  

"Park doesn't mean open to the air, it doesn't mean open area, it doesn't mean grass. The park could be an extended visitor center," said Eduardo Vargas with No on A Yes on B.  

Both sides agree help is needed for the homeless population. The dueling initiatives are just their way to be heard. Now it's up to the people of Alameda to decide what's best for their community.

"They need services yes they do, but they need to get services where the rest of the community is not impacted. And I think exposing our children to these type of conditions is unfair," said Vargas.  

"There's always push back when you want to create homeless services in a community," said Biggs.  Alameda residents can vote from now until April 9th