Community asks why housing for homeless seniors can't be built elsewhere

Residents in San Jose expressed concerns Monday night at a community meeting about a proposed apartment project to house homeless seniors. PATH or People Assisting the Homeless is behind the project. The nonprofit helps homeless throughout the state.

The goal is to turn a city-owned lot on Fourth and Younger, once a grocery store, into a four-story apartment building to lease to homeless people. It would be 93 units with support services.

"What it is, it's not a shelter, it's not a food bank, it is apartments," said PATH CEO Joel Roberts. "Typically a person who enters our apartments pays a third of their revenue or their income."

The project is in the Hyde Park neighborhood near Japantown. The nonprofit chose the location for its size and proximity to transit. Long-time resident Mark Ferreira lives around the corner.

"I know it's the right thing to do but to put this facility in the location they are proposing, I don't think it's a wise choice," said Mark Ferreira, resident of San Jose. 

Surrounded by homes and located a block away from an elementary school, he worries the facility will increase crime.

"They don't hold residents accountable outside the building and I think that's wrong," said Ferreira.

City leaders said they understand the neighborhood's concerns. They also said homelessness in San Jose is growing at an alarming rate.

"We need them so desperately," said San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez. "We grew over the last two years by nearly 2,000 homeless in the city and we only opened up a couple hundred units of supportive housing."

The project in its early stages. It still needs to go before the planning commission. If approved, the earliest it could break ground is sometime next year.