Transitional home for women gets ‘green light’ after community opposition

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Plans to establish Casa Esperanza, a transitional home for homeless women and children, in Northeast Bakersfield will now move forward.

“We wanted to signal that we are here to be a good neighbor and we want to be part of the community,” said Casa Esperanza board member Lisa Elzy Watson,

The months-long battle between neighbors and planners came to an end when the Bakersfield city council gave the ‘OK’ to move forward Wednesday afternoon.  The home will open on Haley Street and Panorama Drive, right across from Bakersfield College.

“We were overwhelmed,” said Karen Noriega who lives down the street from the home. “None of us oppose for what it stands for, I personally give to the mission every month, but we believe there were better locations with better facilities.”

The vote by the city council was simply a formality as the state had already given the green light, but the council acknowledged Casa Esperanza’s good neighbor policy.

“There are guidelines for the people that live in our house,” said Elzy Watson.  “They will respect, the good neighbor policy also includes being responsive to our neighbors if they have a question or inquiry.”

Transitional housing is allowed “by right” in neighborhoods designated for single-family homes.

Regardless, some question how good a neighbor these residents will be.

“These are women that you get the impression that they don’t have jobs yet,” said Noriega.  “They are going to be introduced to the job market, they are not going to be making a lot of money.”

Elzy Watson reassures that the women that will be housed are women who are ‘down on their luck’, she adds that these women are ‘not fleeing domestic violence’ nor are they ‘recovering from drugs’.

“I hope for the best that it’s successful,” said Noriega. “We don’t think they have the funds to be successful.”

Casa Esperanza is holding their Hearts of Hope fundraiser on September 30.  To find out how you can help their efforts, you can visit their website www.esperanzabakersfield.org.



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