San Diego

Plans for Sanctuary Home for Sex Trafficking Survivors Divides Coronado Residents

Citizens question whether an affluent city like Coronado is the right place for this type of establishment

Plans to establish a sanctuary home for survivors of sex trafficking are dividing residents of Coronado.

The transitional house will be set up in a large, well-known home in Coronado. NBC 7 is not giving the location to help protect the privacy of potential future occupants.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with it,” Coronado resident Debra Smith said. “It’s going to help people. Why wouldn’t people want to help people?”

Not everyone feels the same way as Smith, though.

People living near the home are concerned about the impact it could have on property value, as well as potential crime. They also question whether a residential neighborhood, one in an affluent place like Coronado no less, is the right place for this type of establishment.

“You’ll always be looking back and wondering, is that person legitimate who’s living there,” said longtime resident Claudia Holman.

Nearby residents say they were never formally notified of the home, and found out about it when a local newspaper published the address online.

On Wednesday night, more than 200 people packed the Coronado Public Library to learn more about the home.

Dan DeSaegher, Executive Director of GenerateHope, the nonprofit organization setting up the housing, tried to quell concerns by reassuring them of his plan and the home’s mission.

DeSaegher said that once established, the house will have six residents and two so-called "house moms." The early plans call for 12 to 16-month stays for residents, but DeSaegher says that this is the first “community home” the nonprofit has ever established.

“I wonder how they will make the transition from living in ‘la la land’ out in the real world,” Holman added. “But, of course, we wish them the best.”

DeSaegher did add that he wants to be a good neighbor and transparent about the process.

The house is legal under state regulations, but one resident was concerned it ignores Coronado municipal code and should not be in a residential zone.

“If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck- it’s probably a duck,” said Coronado resident Casey Blitt. “And this is a business and it does not belong in a residential area.”

Blitt was also discouraged by the fact that GenerateHope never came to the citizens of Coronado, the mayor or city council directly before announcing the plan.

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