Dueling ballot measures to decide fate of homeless wellness center in Alameda

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Homelessness among seniors is a growing problem and Alameda thought they had a partial solution, but there's been a lot of opposition.

Next week in a special election there are dueling ballot measures that voters will weigh in on. Old merchant marine living quarters on McKay Avenue in Alameda have been okayed by the federal government to develop into 90 units of housing for medically frail seniors and a recuperation center for homeless patients coming off dialysis or chemo treatment.

Assisted living for the homeless and hospice care is in the works on the 3 1/2 acre parcel of land across from Crab Cove Visitor Center and a popular beach in Alameda .

Rosalinda Fortuna - Corva, with friends of Crab Cove said she's afraid the homeless facility will bring in more homeless people and they'll set up encampments on the beach. She said, "we are concerned about the safety and the crime."

Liz Gabato Morse is so upset about the issue that she dressed up like a crab to promote Measure B. Friends of Crab Cove hope a "yes" vote will declare the land to be open space and block development.

She said ,"we have to protect our hood."

Also on the ballot in Tuesday's special election is Measure A. A "yes" vote would OK the homeless wellness center.

Doug Biggs with Alameda Point Collaborative said, "there's always a difference between fear and fact. We've got a lot of data showing that folks on medical discharge don't stay in the community. They go back to their community of origin. "

"To me it's an issue of values," Alameda City Councilman Jim Oddie said. "Do we take care of our most vulnerable?

Alameda Mayor Maryland Ezzy Ashcraft also weighed in.

"Every community in our state has a problem with homelessness," she said. "We all have to do something about it. We can't keep saying can't we just send them to Oakland."

It's become a divisive issue in Alameda, population 80,000. There are signs up all over town for and against the two measures that will ultimately decide if a homeless wellness center will open.
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