Last year’s drive to open the shelter in Burbank was marked by a string of mostly supportive comments from residents who called on the council to approve the armory as an acceptable site to house the homeless.
Their support was buttressed by a unanimous council, which on Dec. 4 voted 4 to 0 to support the shelter with an abstention from Councilman David Gordon, who opposed the measure Tuesday night.
Still, a few residents opposed the site last year, mostly under the auspices of public safety. Four residents spoke against the site Tuesday.
They pleaded with the council to look into moving the shelter from the armory to a location farther away from schools, parks and homes near the National Guard center.
“I understand that’s it people in need now,” resident Oscar Cabrera said. “But I believe it’s too close to too many schools. I would suggest the City Council consider another location. I’m concerned for the safety of my family, my wife, my little girl taking a walk at night.”
Bric tried to assuage residents’ concerns in promising that homeless people are not allowed to roam the area when staying at the shelter, saying it is “on 100% lockdown.”
But that contention was dismissed by Gordon, who said the shelter is not “a prison camp.”
Most staying at the shelter last year were picked up in the evening and dropped off in the morning at prearranged bus stops in Burbank or Glendale, but a small percentage arrived at the Valhalla site on their own, said Carrie Gatlin, vice president of government relations for Union Rescue Mission.
Those who did arrive on their own were told not to roam in nearby parks and to respect the community, or risk being thrown out of the shelter for good, she said.