Metal bars have mysteriously appeared bolted to the middle of city benches throughout Lodi’s downtown district. This comes just two weeks after a rally was held to support the homeless community.
Several citizens have reported metal bars bolted to city benches in downtown Lodi. These bars appear to be painted the same shade of green as the legs of the benches, causing many to believe the city had installed these in an effort to stop homeless individuals from sleeping on them.
The new modifications appeared about two weeks after the Women’s March Lodi held a rally for the homeless community and to support a homeless woman who was assaulted by another resident. The event was held on March 20, 2021 in front of Lodi’s Post Office.
After word spread about the metal bars, numerous residents took to the Lodi City Council meeting on the evening of April 7, 2021 for a response from Lodi’s government. Four outraged citizens commented on this waste of funds that does nothing but add cruelty to an already difficult life for homeless individuals.
City Manager Steve Schwabauer listened to all comments before stating the city was not responsible for the metal bars. There has been no such project in the works, and the city is very progressive in terms of funding programs for the homeless community. The same council meeting was to discuss the Harmony Homes project, which provides tiny homes for qualified homeless individuals.
A Lodi citizen who had commented on the city benches earlier in the meeting then responded to the City Manager. She alleged a Lodi business owner from the downtown area was inspecting the benches around the time of the Women’s March Lodi rally, and had claimed that he was sent by the City Council to create anti-homeless structures for the benches.
Mr. Schwabauer then said he would figure out what was going on and how to proceed. Council Member Doug Kuehne then stated that the City Council has been funding the Salvation Army shelter and many other programs to help the homeless since he has been apart of the Council. City Manager Schwabauer said the City of Lodi has about $2.5 million invested in projects for the homeless, and a navigation center was also on the agenda for the same meeting. One more person wanted to comment (by raising their hand in the Zoom meeting), but the City Manager stated that the public comments section was now closed and the council was moving on with the agenda.
We will keep everyone updated as news develops.