Fresno City Council agrees to purchase 2 more motels to house those experiencing homelessness

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno City Council Thursday approved the purchase of two more motels that will be used as temporary shelters for those experiencing homelessness.

Mayor Jerry Dyer said the extra temporary housing also opens the door for more permanent solutions in the future.

"The faster we can get the motels, the faster we can relocate people there and provide them with services, the safer that community is going to be," said Dyer.

The City of Fresno took another step forward to get those experiencing homelessness off the streets.

Council members approved the purchase and sale agreement for two more motels.

The Ambassador Inn on East Olive and North Abby Street has 56 rooms available.

The Villa Motel on North Parkway drive, south of Olive Avenue has 51 rooms available.

The two locations will serve as temporary shelters and can be used as soon as February 1.

Dyer says, because of that, the city can begin cleaning up encampments in downtown and southwest Fresno as early as next week.

"The goal is make sure we have sufficient emergency shelters and we have a place to transition people from the emergency shelter into more transitional shelter or permanent housing," said Dyer.

In addition, the council passed a new ordinance that sets a uniform time frame for nuisances on public and private properties to be cleaned up.

If the owners don't clean them up within 10 days of being notified, the ordinance will allow the city to do it and then send the cleaning bill to the owner.

"So this is going to give us a very effective tool to making sure we respond and clean up these illegal dumping sites in a timely manner," said Councilmember Luis Chavez.

The ordinance also allows the area where an abatement is happening to be cordoned off.

That's something the California Homeless Union Statewide Organizing Council doesn't agree with.

The group sent a letter to the city council saying it, "will result in restricting access of those who need or wish to closely observe administrative abatements so as to assist persons whose property may be at risk of seizure and destruction."

In essence, the group wants to ensure advocates can help those experiencing homelessness should they be living on a property and abatement is happening.

Councilmember Chavez says it's important to clean up quickly because it can create health issues for those living and working near those areas.

Despite the criticism, overall Mayor Dyer says the city is doing everything it can to ensure those who are unhoused have a place to go to get the help they need.

"We are housing the homeless, we are providing them services, and we're transitioning them into a better life, a more productive life and permanent housing," said Dyer.

Friday afternoon, Councilmember Miguel Arias will be hosting a town hall meeting for those who are experiencing homelessness.

He said he hopes to understand the needs and barriers of residents living on city streets.

It will be held Friday from 1-3 p.m. at the Valley Inn located at 933 N. Parkway Dr. in Fresno.
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