The council voted 5-2, with Vice Mayor Lydia Kou and Council member Greg Tanaka dissenting, to reaffirm the decision by the Department of Planning and Community Environment to approve the program. That decision was appealed by a group of neighbors, some of whom attended the meeting and argued that the program would represent a safety hazard for the area around the church.
But most of the nearly 20 residents who addressed the council urged members to approve the program without further delay. Many pushed back against suggestions from appellants that unhoused individuals are more prone to crime than other residents.
With the council's blessing, First Congregational Church will be able to roll out the program on a small parking lot that fronts Embarcadero Road. Participants will be allowed to park there between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and will receive case management from Move Mountain View, a nonprofit that runs similar programs in Mountain View and at two other Palo Alto lots.
— Gennady Sheyner
Local nonprofit to host International Festival
The nonprofit Neighbors Abroad is set to host an International Festival on Saturday to showcase Palo Alto's relationship with its eight sister cities and its newly announced domestic sibling city — Bloomington, Indiana. The highlight of the festival, which will run for five hours starting at noon outside Palo Alto City Hall, will be the unveiling of the new Sister/Sibling City sign at 4 p.m.
Representatives from Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as Heidelberg, Germany, and Bloomington will join the Aug. 27 celebration, according to the event webpage. Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt, City Council member Tom DuBois and others also will attend the ceremony. Admission is free to the festival, which will include food and drinks provided by local vendors and performances by artists from around the world. Vendors include Mexican food truck Zaida's Kitchen, Waffle Amore food truck and Griffin Hill, a winery from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Performers at the International Festival will range from instrumentalists to martial artists. Verlene Schermer and Fete Musette will each play instruments native to Sweden and France, respectively, and stick fighters from Legacy Filipino Martial Arts School will showcase traditional Filipino martial arts to honor Palo Alto's sister cities — Linkoping, Sweden, Albi, France and Palo, Philippines.
The pinnacle of the event will be the unveiling of the new directional sign by Palo Alto leaders honoring Palo Alto's international sister cities and its domestic sibling city. After the removal of the previous sister cities sign, local leaders will reveal the new post, which will include Bloomington.
— Miles Breen
City receives $26M grant to build homeless housing
More than a year after the Palo Alto City Council first floated the idea of building a shelter for unhoused individuals near the Baylands, its vision is on the cusp of becoming reality thanks to a $26.6 million grant.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that Palo Alto's proposed shelter will be one of 35 projects to receive funding in the latest round of Project Homekey, a grant program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development that supports efforts to build dwellings for the unhoused, whether through conversion of hotels or through construction of new developments.
Palo Alto's project is modeled after 100-unit modular development that Mountain View had constructed on Leghorn Street, a project that Newsom highlighted in 2021 as a "shining example" of a local solution to the homeless crisis. Under the council's recent revisions, the development will be a three-story structure with 88 dwellings, 64 for singles and couples and 24 for families. It would be constructed at 1237 San Antonio Road, a site formerly occupied by the Los Altos Treatment Plant.
The facility will consist of modular dwellings with solar panels on the roofs. It will also include offices for case management, a structure for communal space and dining facilities.
The council on Aug. 15, voted 6-1, with Greg Tanaka dissenting, to approve a "standard agreement" with the state for the grant funding. The agreement requires the city to complete construction of the shelter within 12 months. Residents will stay in the transitional housing complex for between 90 and 120 days and for no more than 180 days, according to a report from the city.
— Gennady Sheyner
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