Councilmembers say Dyer’s homeless plan will make their districts ‘the skid row of Fresno’

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Three Fresno City Councilmembers are taking aim at mayoral candidate Jerry Dyer’s plan for helping solve the homeless problem in Fresno.

Former police chief Dyer wants to build navigation centers, tent-like shelters for the homeless, but some councilmembers don’t want them in their districts.

Miguel Arias with District 3, Esmeralda Soria with District 1 and Nelson Esparza with District 7 held a press conference on Wednesday morning to voice their concerns and opposition to Dyer’s plan.

They said they’re tired of taking on the burden.

“If we’re truly one Fresno, every single neighborhood is gonna step up and be part of the solution and not just expect the southern part of the city to be burdened by the crisis that is before us,” Soria said.

The councilmembers favor smaller “triage” centers around the city, with no more than 50 beds.

“Our neighborhoods in central Fresno, south Fresno will not become the skid row of Fresno,” Esparza said.

Shortly afterward, Dyer held his own press conference, defending his plan to bring navigation centers to Fresno.

“This is not warehousing the homeless, this is simply a place where we can bring the homeless population so that we can centralize services to them,” Dyer said.

He said his navigation centers would provide a number of services and are intended for people to stay from 90 to 120 days and then transition to alternate and affordable housing.

“This seems to be a logical place for this, the rescue mission, the Poverello House, because of the existing services,” Dyer said.

He said putting the navigation centers on G Street makes sense because that’s where many of the city’s homeless are concentrated.

“We’re not trying to bring a problem to them, we’re trying to take the problem out of their neighborhoods because currently it already exists,” he said.

Arias confirmed to KGPE Wednesday that he will donate $20,000 from his own campaign fund to a political action committee trying to keep Dyer out of the mayor’s race.

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