Conduct A Safety Study

July 9, 2022

Mr. Adam Pirrie, City Manager
City of Claremont – City Hall
207 Harvard Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-0880

Dear Mr. Pirrie

I am writing to ask your assistance to implement a 90-day pause of the development process for the Larkin Place Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project to allow time for city officials to conduct a safety study and evaluation of the tenant population to be housed at this site and to determine that this population does not pose a health and public safety risk nor an increase in crime for the residents, schools and businesses in the City of Claremont.

I am an advocate for persons with chronic behavioral health and addiction disorders and I am not opposed to low income affordable housing for homeless persons in the City of Claremont. I am also an advocate for the use of PSH for persons with histories of chronic homelessness, chronic mental illness and substance abuse disorders.  I am opposed to housing this specific population in a small residential community like Claremont.

As a former psychiatric hospital administrator, assistant director of behavioral health in San Bernardino County I have dedicated my life as a behavioral healthcare administrator to serving this population. I have also worked with this population in a public safety / law enforcement capacity and recently retired reserve police officer (Captain) in Los Angeles County with over 34 years of active duty service.

Specifically, the tenant population in question are persons who have a history of chronic homelessness, are chronically addicted to drugs and alcohol, and/or persons who have a chronic mental illness and co-occurring drug and alcohol addiction. It is well documented that this population routinely refuses treatment, are not in recovery or abstinent from drug use when homeless and while housed, and have lengthy criminal histories.

These tenants will have access to vehicles and are not prohibited from driving, and in fact, can drive at all times of the day on the streets of Claremont.  Concerns also include tenant visitors and house guests that cannot be vetted by the developer/property management staff 24/7, and may also have addiction disorders (may be driving under the influence) and likelihood of criminal backgrounds.

As you know the Larkin Place site is located in a residential area next to a very busy park frequented by families and children on weekends (soccer league games – just one example), blocks away from El Roble Intermediate School, Our Lady of Assumption Elementary School and surrounded by churches and a large community of retired senior citizens. The pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Harrison and all the surrounding streets is very heavy on and off every day of the week.

Industry best practice models for the housing of this specific population (chronically homeless, chronic mental illness, chronic substance abuse / addiction) locate PSH in industrial areas not in small residential neighborhoods, even the Jamboree PHS site that houses this same population is located in an industrial area in the City of Milpitas, CA.  The Illumination Foundation PHS model (offers 24/7 onsite comprehensive mental health, substance abuse and primary care treatment) is located in an industrial part of the City of Fullerton (Orange County) and is a good example of successful PHS housing for this exact population (chronically homeless, chronic mental illness, chronic drug and alcohol addiction) –

I believe this does not only present a public safety risk/hazard to pedestrians and motorists of the Claremont community, but also brings significant liability to the City of Claremont who has not vetted the tenant population nor deemed this population to be safe for the surrounding community despite community concerns and requests for reassurances.

My question is how will the City of Claremont (city council, city administrators and staff) ensure that this population or visitors will not be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol given the fact that target tenant population to be housed in this residential neighborhood, are persons chronically homeless, with chronic drug and alcohol disorders, and do not have to be in treatment or recovery (abstinent) to be admitted into or remain in the Larkin Place PSH housing facility?

Tenant Selection Plan – Pilgrim Place – Quality Management Group Housing First Policy – Low Barrier Admission Policy

“Project philosophy beings with an immediate focus on helping individuals get housing without preconditions and barriers to entry. Property management will accept tenants without any preconditions associated with participation in services, poor credit or financial history, poor or lack of rental history, criminal convictions unrelated to tenancy, or behaviors that indicate a lack of “housing readiness” in accordance with practices permitted pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 8255 all applicants will be considered for housing regardless of their sobriety or substance abuse history or treatment status to extent federal rules for Housing Choice Vouchers exclude applicants, reasonable accommodation requests will be facilitated by Project”. 

See Attached Document

2021 California Welfare and Institutions Code
Housing First and Coordinating Council Section 8255

“The use of alcohol or drug use in and of itself, without other lease violations, is NOT a reason for eviction”

“Services are informed by a harm-reduction philosophy that recognizes drug and alcohol use and addictions as part of the tenants’ lives, where tenants are engaged in nonjudgmental communication regarding drug and alcohol use, and where tenants are offered education regarding how to avoid risky behaviors and engage in safer practices, well as connected to evidence-based treatment – IF THE TENANT SO CHOOSES”.

See Attached Document

According to a 2019 report from the University of California Los Angeles analyzing data from 64,000 surveys, 75% of the unsheltered homeless populations have substance abuse disorders, 78% have a mental health disorder. In one U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study regarding the applicability of Housing First models for homeless persons with severe mental illness/substance use disorders, in three nationally recognized Housing First programs, there was no significant reduction in impairment related to substance abuse; in fact, among residents with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, the percentage of residents with moderate to severe impairment actually increased from 88% to 93% after entering permanent supportive housing.

Even for the “gold standard” under Housing First – the Pathways to Housing Program, which provides residents with 24-hour access to a 9 person interdisciplinary team consisting of a social worker, substance abuse specialist, nurse practitioner, part-time psychiatrist, family systems specialist, wellness specialist, and employment specialist; the number of individuals with impairment related to substance abuse increased over a 12- month period and none of the residents with substance abuse disorders achieved recovery. Housing alone without treatment is not the answer. Treatment is voluntary and cannot be forced under the Housing First model. Any effort to reduce homelessness must address the treatment needs of this population which include treatment for addiction and mental illness which is the underlying cause of criminal behavior and their involvement in the criminal justice system.

We cannot deny the realities of homeless persons abusing substances. The great majority of them when sheltered are going to be living in multi-unit buildings like Larkin Place, in which their ongoing substance use will also affect others who may be in treatment. Persistent drug use, will offer an ongoing temptation to those residents who are themselves at various phases of treatment and recovery. Even if tenants do not sell illegal substances themselves, their use ensures that they are caught up in the crime and violence that accompanies drug and alcohol abuse (drug sales, theft, burglary, robbery, prostitution, etc).

Furthermore, one study of Housing First Programs found that homeless persons entering housing directly from the streets were more likely to have a criminal record and more severe levels of psychiatric and substance abuse related conditions. A 90 – day pause of the Larkin Place project to conduct a safety study / evaluation of the tenant population is the prudent thing to do to assure the Claremont community (residents, schools, businesses) that this population will not bring a health and safety risk and increase in crime to the community.

Concerned citizens of Claremont conducted their own due diligence of this project and discovered the one Jamboree PSH site that houses a similar tenant population as the proposed Larkin Place site. The Jamboree PSH project in the City of Milpitas (Santa Clara County) has a longstanding history of criminal activity according to City of Milpitas officials that were interviewed.

As it turns out this property has been plagued by crime and violence for years. In a recent City of Milpitas agenda report dated October 19, 2021 (see attached) it described 58 police calls for service that took place during a 3 month period from May – August 2021 that included:

  • Court order violations
  • Trespassing
  • Sex registrant on premises
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Mental health related issues
  • Arrest for outstanding warrant
  • Stolen vehicle
  • Suspicious circumstances
  • Parking violations
  • Assault
  • Assault with a knife
  • Rape

(Note there was also a highly publicized homicide of a 24 year old transgender woman that occurred at this site a few months prior to this report on April 23, 2021)

Because of the high incidence of criminal activity at this site Jamboree has installed 22 exterior security cameras, 22 interior security cameras, hired security guards to provide 24/7 onsite security and evening and weekend patrol services.

Is this what we want at the Larkin Place PSH facility to keep tenants and the surrounding neighbors and community safe?

In closing I am asking that you lead this initiative to implement a 90 – day pause on the continued development and administrative process of the Larkin Place permanent supportive housing project to provide City of Claremont officials ample time to conduct a safety study and evaluation of the mandated target tenant population to ensure there is NO health and safety risk nor an anticipated increase in crime to the community (residents, schools, businesses) before executing any further “go forward” considerations, agreements or approvals for the development of this housing development.

I also ask that you facilitate open and transparent public hearings conducted by the City of Claremont to allow the citizens to voice their concerns about this specific tenant population (chronically homeless, have chronic mental illness and drug and alcohol addictions), share ideas for best practice approaches and their support for affordable low income housing of low risk tenant populations at high risk of homelessness such as older adults, couples, families, transition age youth, and veterans.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request and please do not hesitate to reach out if I can support you in any way to accomplish my requests above.


  1. The “Housing First” Approach Has Failed: Time to Reform Federal Policy and Make It Work for Homeless Americans
  2. Tenant Selection Plan – Pilgrim Place
  3. 2021 California Welfare and Institutions Code – WIC Division 8 – Housing First and Coordinating Council Section 8255
  4. City of Milpitas Agenda Report


City Council
Alisha Patterson, City Attorney
Aaron Fate, Chief of Police
Shelley Desautels, City Clerk
Safe and Transparent Claremont  

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