Santa Monica Lookout
Embattled Santa Monica Nonprofit to Hold Community Meeting
By Lookout Staff
October 17, 2012 -- Common Ground, Santa Monica's only nonprofit HIV treatment center, will hold its first community meeting October 24 to hear from neighbors about safety concerns they may have.
As stipulated in Common Ground's Good Neighbor Agreement, 30 days after the nonprofit opened its doors at its new location, it will hear from those living in the area -- near Lincoln Boulevard and Cedar Street -- about possible safety concerns or incidents related to the move.
This meeting is so “we can begin to assess the impact of our facility (positive or otherwise) and how our improvements have possibly helped the surrounding area,” Jeff Goodman, president of Common Ground's Board, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.
The October 24 meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the new Common Ground building at 2401 Lincoln Boulevard. According to the agenda, neighbors will get a chance to meet new Common Ground personnel.
They will also get a chance to hear Common Ground's incident logs. As part of the Good Neighbor Agreement, Common Ground staff will keep records of any incidents related to the nonprofit so that they could be more aware of the impact on the community.
The new facility is equipped with surveillance cameras and those attending will hear from security patrols -- the new location has private security -- about any incidents that have occurred since the new facility began operations in September.
Common Ground staff has also invited residents to talk about their experiences with the new facility or its clientele.
“You should feel free to provide input via email and that will be presented as part of the evening,” Goodman wrote in the e-mail addressed to the surrounding neighborhood.
Residents will also hear from Neighborhood Resource Officer Artis Williams with the Santa Monica Police Department, who will present a report on crime statistics from the area.
Common Ground was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when it announced that it would be moving from its old location at Lincoln Boulevard and Bay Street to its current location.
A series of community meetings shortly after the old location closed brought out dozens of residents who claimed that Common Ground's clientele -- especially those who participated in the Homeless Youth Peer Education (HYPE) program -- had been a major source of trouble in the area.
However, according to crime statistics compiled by Williams, which compare crime in the Bay Street location 10 years prior to Common Ground moving there to crime in the area during Common Ground's 10-year stint there, there was little change.
Still, Common Ground officials have made improvements to the new location, including relocating the controversial HYPE program out of the City.
Goodman has requested that those wishing to attend the meeting on October 24 RSVP to email@example.com.
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