October 20, 2006

Homeless Shelter in the Cards?

The "new" homeless shelter has been shunted from one side of town to the other. So, were are we? From the Orange Herald.

CHAPEL HILL -- The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service has asked the county to consider locating a new men's homeless shelter near the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. Ann Henley, vice president of the IFC's board, told the county commissioners this week that a new facility is needed for the shelter's long-term viability and the agency needs help from local governments to secure a new location.
Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, who is part of a town-county group set to meet next week on the topic, said Wednesday that the town clearly will need in the future the space of the current shelter, in the town-owned building at 100 West Rosemary Street. That building, he added, isn't well suited for a residential facility anyway. The IFC currently leases the building from the town.
At a meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Alice Gordon identified some possible disadvantages. She said some members of the Friends of the Chapel Hill Senior Center, when asked about the men's shelter idea, raised concerns, including how the senior center and shelter would co-exist on the same site.

Another concern was the proximity of Project HomeStart, where homeless women and children stay, to the men's site. Previously, IFC representatives said they wished to have separate sites for men and women, Gordon said.

About a decade ago, the county granted IFC a 25-year lease for three acres in the northwest part of the Homestead Road campus, where HomeStart was built.

Meanwhile, Foy reiterated the town's commitment to help find a new site for the shelter, and the challenges they face.

"We've made it clear we will provide town-owned property and financial assistance, but we haven't said to the IFC or to Orange County, do this or do that," Foy said. "It's hard to find a place that's just right. It's best if there is good access to transportation, and to support networks, like other agencies that may provide assistance with employment, substance abuse, or getting financial aid."
There has been a lot of support for this shelter...as long as it isn't in MY neighborhood. Everyone here is very progressive until it comes time to have a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. Too bad. Chapel Hill could do something really great for the homeless.

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