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Walnut Creek Armory To Open Doors To Homeless; Neighbors Not Exactly Welcoming Arrivals With Open Arms

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Photo: File

With the cool breath of winter already in the air and a population of people who – for a variety of reasons – choose to live on its streets, Walnut Creek is hoping to open its National Guard Armory as temporary shelter starting in December.

The announcement that the National Guard would open the armory came as a surprise to several people on the streets of Walnut Creek Tuesday, several of whom said they were living on the streets by choice.

“I don’t like shelters,” said David Stallworth, who admitted he has been living day to day in Walnut Creek for the past two months. “Too many rules and people steal from you. I like it out here…”

“Out here” is often a doorway or, when weather is inclement, under a bridge, Stallworth said. Centers in place to help get “highly mobile” people like him off the streets come with too many restrictions.

Unless something changes, he says, he’ll be avoiding the city’s current plan to drive homeless people from Trinity Center – a nonprofit aimed at securing housing for homeless people – to the armory on Carmel Drive, already situated in an area home to many of the highly mobile, Civic Park. Talk of opening the armory started last year, after the deaths of two homeless men who died of exposure.

Trinity Center is paying the rent on the armory while it remains open, and will bus more than two dozen of its patrons to and from the building in the evening. Once there, they are not allowed to leave. Center representatives say they are hoping to speak with neighbors on Carmel Drive who have expressed initial concerns about having a shelter in their neighborhood – with traditional fears of public safety and reduction in property values at the forefront of their worries.

A community meeting has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Walnut Creek Community Center conference room with Trinity Center representatives present to address community concerns.

16 COMMENTS

  1. ” too many rules” actually means not being able to drink or shoot drugs when they want to. Sorrry but there it is.

    • We’ve heard different numbers, Sabrina. It’s difficult, like counting the wind, as the population is transient and appears to ebb and flow. We would think even a “hard count” would be suspect. Anecdotally, we have heard from residents that there appear to be more homeless on the streets than in recent months.

  2. Complicated situation, but the first step is to stop giving money to people living on the streets. It just enables them to drift sideways instead of seeking or accepting the help they need to stabilize their lives.

  3. Giving them money is the worst thing we can do. We need to keep them warm during winter, and they need to stop setting fires and stealing. There is no easy solution.

  4. I agree with Chris. Stop giving them money on the streets. It does enable them. I also agree with opening the doors and giving the homeless somewhere to sleep. Winter is coming, and it gets cold overnight.

  5. Cities much bigger than Walnut Creek have thrown millions at this problem and haven’t made a dent in it. We owe them a place to stay warm if they want one but beyond that they need to make a choice: get off the streets or get worn down by them.

  6. People adrift in life for any number of reasons. Every time I look at them I say to myself there but for the grace of God go I.

  7. Give them money on the street and you may as well be handing them a bottle or giving them a hit of crack. We need to keep them warm during winter I agree. They need to stop using their children to beg for money.

  8. No one should be dying of exposure on American streets. This is a great country and we should be doing what we can to help people even if they don’t want to be helped at all times.

  9. We are measured by how we take care of our poor and indigent. I see that San Jose is embarking on a plan to provide little homes for its homeless population, something that has been suggested by writers here. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

  10. This has been an issue in Walnut Creek. The city council donated over hundred thousand for this purpose and for the Trinity Homeless Center. Many residents thought that it would be inviting homeless to Walnut Creek from other surrounding areas like Concord and Pleasant Hill and even San Francisco. I think the city is going to find out that they are going to attract more homeless in because of this. Homeless that are being served elsewhere.. ( there are a multitude of services in Concord helping the homeless )
    So stay tuned if you’re visiting Walnut Creek to have the street people in your face there too.

  11. Don’t like them using their kids to beg for money either but I feel people especially families with children should be warm at night

  12. Maybe the neighbors would like it more if they did some sweeping or picking up trash in the area.

  13. No easy solutions, but, as pointed out by others, giving them money is foolhardy. Better that you give the money to a shelter or an organization that strives to help the homeless.

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