By Saeed Villanueva |Staff Writer|
San Bernardino’s city council showed their support for a center for homeless men called Mary’s Village on Oct. 10.
Out of the 30 people who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting 27 of them spoke in favor of Mary’s Village.
Many of whom spoke very passionately about the homeless epidemic in the city.
“The biggest tragedy, the one the breaks my heart is the individual that’s homeless because of certain circumstances that put them in a homeless situation and has gotten so far down he can’t get back up,” said John Morrissey, a board of directors’ member for the Mary’s Mercy Center.
Despite the overwhelmingly amount of support, plans to schedule a public hearing for the construction of Mary’s Village failed.
Although council members who were in attendance did vote 3-1 in favor of the center, the proposal still did not have enough support due to the members who were not in attendance, who opposed the project.
The members who opposed the project felt the center would attract homeless people from other cities.
The one person who was in attendance who opposed Mary’s Village was Henry Nickel of the 5th ward.
“It is a crisis, an absolute crisis,” said Nickel about the homeless problems in the city.
Nickel pointed out how the city council of Riverside was going to hold a public workshop on homelessness the following day and suggested San Bernardino should do the same.
“I will raise a substitute motion that we table this item, until such time that the city has conducted a workshop similar to what Riverside is doing, review our existing policies and modify them if necessary,” added Nickel.
Students who are residents of the city feel they should build the shelter without worrying so much about outsiders, but some people understand the concerns of members who oppose the project.
“They should do it. I think it’ll be good, but if they can find a way to regulate it to only people who are homeless living in San Bernardino it will be better,” said student Vladimir Gonzalez.
“All homeless people need shelter, they should have it regardless if the people live in the city or not,” said student Ernesto Escamilla. “It’s not fair to the homeless, it’s just a small price to pay if a few homeless people from other cities use the shelter.”
The council did vote 4-0 on the Common Ground for Peace intervention program to help end gun violence in San Bernardino.
Common Ground for Peace is a project that uses ceasefire tactics from cities like Oakland where shootings have declined 40 percent since 2012, according to iecn.com.
The plan encourages law enforcement and community leaders’ to work together in an effort to diminish homicides.
People at the meeting expressed their desire for this plan to be put into action in order to help stop the violence.
Some of the speakers were able to relate to the all the murders as they knew a family member or friend that died to senseless violence.
Dr. Cardona wore a shirt with a picture of his dead brother-in-law Adrian Cardona who was murdered last year as he spoke emotionally about the need to change the uncontrollable violence that is plaguing the city.
“It’s time that the city of San Bernardino rise up against violence, greed, and indifference,” said Cardona.