CHICO, Calif. - The controversial, proposed low barrier homeless shelter planned for Downtown Chico is getting new reaction Friday from the Chico State President.
In a letter addressed to the Chico City Council, President Gayle Hutchinson asked leaders to reconsider the location of the proposed low barrier homeless shelter planned for West Fourth and Orange Streets.
Letter from California State University, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson concerning public safety in Chico
In her letter, President Hutchinson said her first commitment is to provide a safe environment for staff and students.
We spoke with Chico City Council members about the letter.
"The letter that the council and the public received takes on fear-based messaging around low barrier shelter and its impacts on communities. Having a shelter in this location in which other locations were explored, and this is where we landed in terms of what we were able to do, having a shelter in this location brings the issue into the light in a much more significant way," said Alex Brown, a Chico City Council Member.
"I was very happy to see her support of protecting the citizens in the area. I'm absolutely in favor of having an additional shelter and a low barrier shelter, my stance is I don't think that's the right location. The last thing we need is anything additional happening to our kids that is going to decrease enrollment or cause any reasons for adults and parents to not want to send their kids to Chico State for school," said Kasey Reynolds, a Chico City Council Member.
President Hutchinson said bringing a vulnerable population from the low barrier shelter would bring an element to the campus that her school and city has limited control over. The president said her school continues to support the efforts of groups behind this low-barrier shelter.
The Jesus Center and Safe Space who are among several pushing the project forward said they look forward to working with Chico State in the future.