According to an East Bay Citizen article, San Leandro has over 500 people lacking shelter. However, they’re not minorities or young people — the typical profile of the homeless are white males in their 50s and 60s, says Rose Padilla Johnson, executive director of Davis Street Family Resource Center.
The closest shelter is Building Futures with Women and Children on Bancroft Avenue, but it’s only for women and children.
Shelters for men are in Berkeley, Fremont and Oakland. Homeless men in San Leandro and Hayward are out of luck.
Many men would prefer to stay in a familiar area. “Because they have roots in San Leandro, they will avoid those [shelters] as much as possible," says Johnson.
Last year, Hayward City Council discussed the issue of free food-sharing program in city parks and the lack of options for homeless males. According to East Bay Citizen, the problem is funding. Due to the recession, cities had to cut part of their budgets — this included services for the poor. Just like Hayward, the city of San Leandro is no different.
At the council meeting on Monday, Johnson urged the city to address this problem.
“Ask the people who need help because we always think we know everything,” said Johnson. “If we don’t come up with a strategy, short-term and long-term, then guess what? Every five years we’re going to have this conversation.”
Councilmember Diana Souza questioned if the city had enough money to form a task force.
The discussion will continue at the council retreat on Feb. 1.