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Modesto church's homeless housing plan paused after neighbor pushback

Modesto church's housing plan for homeless put on pause
Modesto church's housing plan for homeless put on pause 02:49

MODESTO -- Plans to build tiny homes for homeless families are on hold after community pushback and concern from neighbors near the Modesto church behind the proposal.

The Modesto Church of the Brethren offered land on the church property to build 20 tiny homes for homeless families as part of a city initiative in response to the increasing need for housing for the homeless. The city approved the concept of Bridge Housing, described as a "transitional and temporary housing approach."

As part of this initiative, the church proposed their property in return for funding to build housing for the homeless.

"We're hoping it to be a family village – we've called it Peace Village – that would be run by an organization that has a long history of running organizations well," said Derek Castle, a homeless activist who helped the church create the proposal.

Castle told CBS13 that the church has a partnership with Family Promise, a nonprofit that provides temporary support including housing to homeless families with children. As part of this, the church has housed families inside the church.

Castle said there haven't been issues in the two decades the church has worked with Family Promise. The proposal to the city to build 20 tiny homes with two bedrooms for families was set to improve the services he said they already provide.

The proposal was met with pushback from neighbors within the Woodland West Community neighborhood group.

The Church of the Brethren is on the corner of Woodland Avenue and Dan W. Court. There are homes on all sides of the property, except for a now-open space of grass that Castle said would be the location for the tiny homes.

"I think that they should do stuff to help the homeless, but I think they should notify people," said Charles Mitchell, a neighbor near the church with concerns.

Mitchell told CBS13 that he feels like the proposal for homeless housing was not shared transparently throughout the process. That concern was echoed to CBS13 by other neighbors.

"It's going to be chaos, and we won't be safe at all," said Tony Do, who has lived across from the church for more than 20 years.

In light of this much opposition, the church pulled its proposal from city consideration to include more feedback from neighbors.

"Given the misinformation they'd given, a lot of those concerns would've been valid, but unfortunately, they hadn't had a chance to find out how we'd be doing it for families," Castle said.

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