ARCADIA, Calif. — Arcadia’s youngest residents have been some of the most vocal supporters of a city-proposed project to create a homeless shelter.
Sunrise Arcadia, a local political advocacy group for teens and young adults, has hosted several rallies in support of a tiny homes shelter project.
The City of Arcadia is considering placing 15 to 20 tiny homes at county-owned Peck Park at the edge of the city.
The project is still in the exploratory phase but high school students like Becky Chen have been very vocal about supporting the project.
“Academics and stuff are of course really important but I think what’s meaningful to me personally as a high school student is what I do in my community while I have a voice here,” Chen said.
Chen has been raising her voice with Sunrise Arcadia for a year. They’ve been advocating for the tiny homes project and have met opposition from other residents who don’t want a shelter in their city and don’t think young people should have a say.
“We get that criticism a lot that we don’t pay taxes that we don’t own land and therefore we don’t have a say in this issue which I think is obviously not true at all,” Chen said. “Despite me only being 17 that is 17 years of living in Arcadia and 17 years of experiencing the issues that affect our city.”
Arcadia’s homeless population has swelled to over 100 individuals in recent months. The proposed shelter would be a one-year pilot program to see how shelters would help the community.
Many residents have complained the proposed site is across from homes and too close to schools, yet Sunrise Arcadia member Sydney Cheung thinks it’s a step toward remedying the problem.
“We really want to make sure that future generations and younger generations don’t have to go through this,” Cheung said.
The Arcadia City Council will meet Tuesday June 1 and decide if an ad hoc committee should be tasked with overseeing the project. A final decision about opening the tiny home shelter has not been made.