Planning Commission approves expansion of Shepherd’s Gate shelter in Brentwood | News

Anita Roberts, chair of the Planning Commission, requested that a condition be added to the permit that would require Shepherd’s Gate to provide 30 days’ written notice to the city’s community development director if the nonprofit significantly changes the project’s description or mission or moves the project’s address to the property at 605 Sycamore Blvd. .

“I think we have to be very careful when we start dealing with descriptions,” Roberts said, referring to blanket housing laws. “In the past, it was considered a facility for women and children, and the laws have changed. California is California, so we can’t use that (gender-specific language) anymore, but … a brand is a brand.”

Shepherd’s Gate was launched in 1984 with its Livermore campus which – having just undergone its own expansion – now houses 70 women and children. The organization later opened the Brentwood facility in 2004. At present, the Brentwood home can serve 18 individuals; Once construction is completed, it will house 33.

Elevations of the proposed 2,877-square-foot addition to the existing Shepherd’s Gate facility in Brentwood. The addition will include three 702-square-foot, two-bedroom residences (cottages) and 771 square feet of common space that includes storage, a laundry room, and a breezeway connecting the addition to the existing facility. (Photo courtesy of City of Brentwood via Bay City News)

The expansion of the applicant’s lot would add three residential units, a warehouse and laundry area, as well as additional parking and space for a dumpster.

Carol Patterson, CEO of Shepherd’s Gate, said that although she prefers the term “women and children” — because that’s who they serve — she and her team have worked with Brentwood city staff for two years to develop plans in state-approved language to expand services. Capacity of facilities and services.

“We always need to go beyond 18,” Patterson said. “There is a great need for women and children to have a safe place to recover from the trauma they have experienced.”

She went on to explain that without more space, they are forced to add potential customers to the waiting list.

“One of the consequences of domestic violence is homelessness,” Patterson continued. “This is why women are afraid to leave their abuser because of homelessness. Moreover, addiction follows domestic violence. We work in all of these areas, from homelessness to poverty to mental health.”

Patterson shared high success rates – more than 82% of those who go through the program leave to “become productive members of society,” while maintaining employment, sobriety and housing.

Commissioner Rod Flor said domestic violence is not limited to women and wanted to know if the organization would serve other non-women residents in the future.

In response, Patterson explained that Shepherd Gate applies the same safety rules as state prisons that house people by birth sex. Patterson emphasized that the organization has no plans to change its mission to serve only women and children, adding that an individual can be considered “only if the person fully identifies as a woman and has gone through the full procedures to become a woman.”

“I have to take care of the safety of our women and children, especially children coming from foster care who have been abused,” Patterson said.

The response from public speakers to the project was mostly positive, with only one speaker, Cinziana Tudor, raising concerns about the area becoming a “homeless shelter.” Speaker Aaron Teixeira, a resident of the surrounding Garren Ranch neighborhood, became emotional as he shared the story of how Shepherd’s Gate helped his sister.

“I just want to say that we support — and support — what they are doing,” Teixeira said. “All of our interactions with residents at this Shepherd Gate have been good.”

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