A transitional housing project for sex trafficking victims in the affluent community of Coronado sparked heavy debate Tuesday night.
Generate Hope, a group that provides a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking and helps them recover, is leasing the famed Hansen Mansion for the project.
Once the party place for Hollywood stars and home to billionaires of generations past, the mansion could soon serve the victims of San Diego's second largest criminal industry.
Tuesday night, many residents gathered at the Community Center in Coronado seemed to agree with the effort to help the victims, but not the location.
“I support Generate Hope's mission...I don't think it belongs here,” a Coronado resident said.
"I say we tap the breaks and call on our mayor to make sure we do the right thing for all our citizens. This is a good thing but shouldn't rush into anything, and all our citizens--not just for six,” another Coronado resident said.
The 14,000-square foot Hansen house will become transitional housing for six to 12 victims of sex trafficking.
“They are not substance abusing individuals. These are people that have had their lives taken from them in horrendous ways and we are helping them get back on their feet,” Generate Hope Founder Susan Munsey said.
But most residents who live nearby fear the home will bring trouble, maybe even crime. They are concerned about parking, policing and property values.
According to the real estate website Zillow, the median home price in the neighborhood is over $1.5 million.
"I don't see how residential qualifies for a multi-family non-profit business,” one Coronado resident said.
Generate Hope Executive Director Dan DeSaegher said the victims are 18 months out of the sex trafficking control. They are one step away from living on their own.
There would also be a strict no alcohol or drug policy and failure would mean expulsion from the program, DeSaegher added.
"In a place like Coronado with two exits, we appreciate that we would not bring any threat,” DeSaegher said.
The house is slated to open in December.