New facilities for agencies serving Fresno's neediest due to High Speed Rail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Despite the city's ban on sidewalk camping, temporary structures built by homeless residents-- F Street, between Ventura and Santa Clara, Carmen Hernandez is their neighbor.

"Well, they don't bother us--leave 'em alone let 'em do what they want. Sometimes they even take care of us-- the homeless," said Hernandez.

Hernandez owns the more than 100-year-old house, one of just three homes left on this block. The homeless congregate here because it is close to the assistance and meals provided by the Poverello House and the Fresno Rescue Mission.

Both of those charities are being impacted by construction of High-Speed Rail. The Rescue Mission will be moving into several modular buildings paid for by the High-Speed Rail Authority until their new campus is built.

"We are going to be temporary for two to five years on the other side of the street," said Rob Cravy.

The move is also prompting the Rescue Mission to look for additional property for future growth. They have their eye on Hernandez' neighborhood.

"We are researching all types of options for permanent growth," said Cravy.

Cravy says the Rescue Mission is not involved in making any offers, but Real Estate Agents are working to pick up the property for the Mission. Carmen says their offers are just too low.

"They offer us $30,000-- we've been here for years," said Carmen Hernandez.

"All they offer you is $30,000?"

"Uh huh, that's it."

Diana Gomez, Director of the Central Valley section of the High-Speed Rail project says the agency is only paying to move the Rescue Mission across the street from its present location, not any other property acquisitions.

"We are not involved in that. I know the Poverello House, the Rescue Mission they are all looking at expanding within those areas. We are not involved in that piece of it.

Carmen says she just paid off this house and does not want to move.

"You'd be willing to sell if you got a fair price?"

"Yes, uh huh."

The real estate website Zillow puts the value at around $100,00. The owner of the house next door simply says her place is not for sale. The Rescue Mission says its eventual plans for the area, will be an improvement.

"Down the road it will be a win-win for the city of Fresno, For the rescue mission, for our clients, this property will be able to redesigned to fit a 20-year plan and it will be very beneficial That is at least five years away," said Cravy.
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