IFC Community House meets the neighbors

The IFC held the first of three scheduled community discussions tonight. These discussions are designed to facilitate better communications with the community. The meeting began with three short presentations to update everyone on the current status of the planning process and to provide a brief synopsis of the expectations IFC has for the new facility. 

The new facility is being designed to serve 52 men on a full-time basis with room for 17 emergency cots on white-flag nights. As Chris Moran said, the Community House will serve as transitional housing for homeless men. Emergency housing will need to be provided through the efforts of the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness group. 

The facility is laid out with the first floor devoted to counseling, health and dental services, and other resources to help the residents transition out of homelessness. The second floor provides sleeping/living rooms. The men will start off living in a dormitory-type room with around 10 occupants per room. There are two of the large dorm rooms. As the men progress toward their goals they will step down to a 4-occupant room and finally to a 2-occupant room.

The Community Kitchen currently located at the Rosemary St facility will not be moved to the new Community House. The IFC is working on a CUP to move the kitchen to their property on Main St in Carrboro.

Following this brief informational portion of the meeting, the (hired) facilitators broke us up into small groups and asked that we address the following questions:

1. How can IFC and Community House be good neighbors?

--What expectations or concerns do you have about Community House as a neighbor?

--How can IFC help address these expectations and concerns?

2. How should IFC keep neighbors informed about Community House?

--What questions do you have and what additional information would you like to know about Community House?

--How would you like to receive this information?

After 30 minutes, representatives from each of the 10 groups summarized their group discussion. Not surprisingly, the primary concern expressed by most groups involved safety. There were also questions about the demographics of expected residents. For example, will residents come from the local community, will local residents be given any priority status, etc., will sex offenders be admitted, etc. There was also interest expressed in knowing what criteria were used to select the MLK Bldv site, why the University is being so generous, and why there is so much desire to cluster social services into one area of town. Several groups recommended that to be a good neighbor, the Community House should be located at a different site. (Residents from the immediately surrounding neighborhoods came to the meeting wearing red shirts. They did that at the last town meeting too. What's the significance of the red shirts?)

No answers were provided to the questions, but promises were made to address these concerns on the IFC website and to send out emails to those who signed up.

Two more meetings are scheduled and Chris Moran vowed to hold as many as the community desires. The next meeting is April 5 at the Southern Human Services Center.

The IFC website is: http://www.ifcweb.org/

There's also an I Support Chapel Hill's New Community House page on Facebook.



We are calling for public process to answer this question, not me.  We ask thw town to make a list of ranked criteria that includes things like proximity to homes, parks, daycares, other shelters.  Then vet this against more than one possoible site to arrive at the best site.   For me to offer a site goes against what I am calling for, namely, a public process to locate a site.  It woudl be what we've done now--pick a site with no process and pretend to backfill that process.   

I'm really confused why you think the IFC owes this to you.  They are
not a public agency.  They are a private group providing a valuable
service to our community.  They received a great offer from UNC and are
taking the steps to move forward on that.  Without another such
location, there's nothing to rank.  There is a rezoning question on the land at hand.  An up or down vote from the TC.  You can certainly oppose that vote.  But you can't create some new process for a phantom location which won't materialize just to get it out of your backyard.

This is not a NIMBY issue . This is an issue of transparency and public process . The site needs more review  and public input by its immediate neighbors like any other request like it .  

This is a big NIMBY issue. The special use process is going to provide much review and public input where the immediate neighbors can make their endless pleas for more review and public input. We all know how these games work, let's get on with it.

I'm really confused why you think the IFC owes this to you.  They are not a public agency.  They are a private group providing a valuable service to our community.

According to Roger Stancil and the IFC FAQ, this site was chosen by the town staff using only IFC's criteria.  In addition, the town is funding $300,000 with another $200,000 or so in the pipeline for the allocation in the next two years and perhaps more after that.  These funds were made contingent on dates so that IFC and the town could "stack the deck" for the only option IFC is pursuing.  In addition, the town contributes over $50K per year and the county $36K-$50K per year in direct and indirect funding.  Thus, I disagree with the "private group" notion.

This is as much a town project as an IFC project, and as such, should have used a public process just like the community demanded for the transfer station siting where the landfills and trash services were overconcentrated at Rogers Road.

Had there been a public site search, the public could have provided search criteria such as allowable proximity to schools, allowable proximity to parks, permissible concentration of overnight at-risk social services in a small geographic area, mitigating existing crime rate imbalances, as well as finding locations that permit the shelter to legally house all men, including sex offenders.  IFC and the town staff considered only a very limited set of criteria such as bus service, access to utilities, and room for future expansion.  In addition, some IFC criteria were contrary to likely public criteria, such as desired proximity to other at-risk social services.

Gainesville, FL is using a public process where fourteen criteria were decided via a public process before the site search began, including the requirement that more than one site be brought forth in public for final selection. Given their criteria, this site would not have made the final list. 

This site would not be legal in Winston Salem, NC, Iredell County, NC, and a number of other places due to proximity to the women and children's shelter and Freedom house, or the proximity to schools, or the proximity to a park.

The public site search for the landfill ended with us shipping our trash out of county. Hopefully, we all know that cannot be done with our people.   

The public site search for the landfill ended with us shipping our trash out of county. 

The public site search resulted in Rogers Rd. not being overburdened, which solved the overconcentration issue.  I believe that the current solution isn't sustainable and that there will be another search for a transfer station or landfill in the future.  I hope that it too will use a public process.

The town doesn't require a publicly developed siting criteria for schools or parks, nor have they required it for any other social service agency. If they were to step in and require such a process now for Community House, it would be flat out discrimination.

If they were to step in and require such a process now
for Community House, it would be flat out discrimination.

Baloney.  In lieue of having thorough shelter siting ordinances like many municipalities and given the significant public funding, there is nothing discriminatory about having a public process for siting an at-risk public facility, particularly when there are overconcentration issues.A singles men's shelter is different than a park, school, etc.  Even Laurie Tucker of IFC stated in a UCC info session that there is a big difference between a women and children's shelter and a singles men's shelter.  

On Monday night, March 31st, the Inter-Faith Council sponsored the first of three community discussions about the proposed IFC Community House facility. The IFC plans to re-locate its men’s homeless shelter from its current location on Rosemary Street to a UNC-donated site at Homestead Road and Martin Luther Kind Blvd. The organization is sponsoring the community meetings to share information about the proposed Community House project and to solicit feedback from the community about the project. Seventy people were in attendance, more than two-thirds of whom were confirmed as Chapel Hill citizens who strongly opposed placing the shelter at the Homestead Road location. Most of the others in attendance were IFC staff. During the facilitated discussions session, it was clear that citizens overwhelmingly oppose the Homestead location and cited several key reasons for that opposition. First, citizens have grave safety concerns that arise from the emergency component of the shelter. The IFC described Community House as a facility quite different from the Rosemary Street emergency shelter, assuring neighbors that the new facility will be a transitional house for men down on their luck who will work hard to get back on their feet. Yet citizens pointed out that the new shelter facility will still have a strong emergency component. Resident Tina CoyneSmith said, “the proposed shelter will remain the only emergency shelter in all of Orange County. That makes it an emergency shelter facility, whatever else it might also try to be.”Citizens further expressed serious concerns about white flag nights, the industry term used to describe those nights when weather conditions are rainy, fall below 40 degrees, or climb above 95 degrees. On these nights (which counted 206 in 2009) the shelter will take in as many people as it can fit, with no plan to move them away from the park when they are released at 7 AM. Though the IFC claims it will have a zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy for the men in the transitional program, no such policy exists for the men to be housed on an emergency basis. The shelter will be a “wet shelter,” that is it will accept drunk or high men, so long as they are not disruptive. Men who are disruptive will be asked to leave the shelter, with no plan to move them away from the park or surrounding residential neighborhoods.  Chris Moran, executive director of IFC, stated that the new facility would shelter a maximum of 17 men in emergency cots on these white flag nights. Citizens questioned that estimate, noting that the current shelter now houses at least twice that number on white flag nights. Citizens asked why a newer bigger shelter would actually serve fewer people that the current inadequate one. Moreover, citizens were clearly unhappy with even 17 men being housed on a rotating emergency basis. Neighbors felt that they were being sold a bill of goods when it was revealed that the thus-far described “new facility with a new program” was window dressing on what is still going to operate as an emergency facility. Second, citizens were vocal about their extreme displeasure with the lack of public process in the siting of the shelter. The proposed site adjoins three daycares, two afterschool programs for schoolchildren, Homestead Park (with heavily used soccer and baseball fields as well as a skate park and aquatic center), 900 apartments that house largely UNC students, and 13 residential neighborhoods that comprise 1,900 homes. Citizens believe that placing a homeless shelter directly next to these entities poses grave safety risks for the Chapel Hill Community. The IFC was unable to answer questions about how the town arrived at the Homestead site. Citizens noted that there was no impact study done, nor was there a study of the effects of homeless shelters placed in residential neighborhoods in other communities. There was no list of ranked public criteria against which a series of sites were vetted. One neighbor noted that the town conducted an impact study before changing the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King Blvd, and yet there has been no impact study for moving a shelter next to neighborhoods. Another citizen noted that only IFC criteria were considered in selecting the site. Criteria that the public would have provided in a public process, such as proximity to homes, parks, and schools, were not factors in the selection. One neighbor noted that this site would actually be illegal for a shelter in Winston-Salem, NC as the city has a spacing requirement that prohibits a new shelter from being placed “within a distance of two thousand five hundred (2,500) feet from any other Shelter.” Proponents of the Homestead Road site from the IFC suggested that the park would actually be an excellent source of recreation for the homeless men housed at the shelter and that it would serve as a buffer between the shelter and neighborhoods. One citizen was over heard to say, “Your buffer is my children’s park.” Finally, citizens expressed grave concern about the overconcentration of social services in one small area of Chapel Hill. One Chapel Hill citizen, who was clear to say that she does not live near the proposed site, went so far as to call for the town council to make a formal policy about siting its social services so that the burden is spread equitably across the town. There was consensus that all social services should not be located within 1/10 of a square mile in Chapel Hill, as would be the case if the shelter is located at Homestead Road. The IFC asked one overarching question to those in attendance: how can the IFC and Community House be a good neighbor to you. The local citizenry offered a near-unanimous and resounding answer: find a better site for the men’s homeless shelter.

A lot of these statements sound incorrect to me. For example, I highly doubt that the shelter considers it a "white flag" night on more than half the nights of the year. That wouldn't make it much of an emergency, would it?  I also think that the downtown shelter has a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs so I can't see why this facility would be any different.In addition to the large collection of unsupported "facts" above, there no names (other than your wife's, I presume) or reliable sources cited, instead saying that "citizens" feel this or that.Well I'm a citizen who strongly supports the shelter and trusts its staff and residents, even if I don't like the apparent backroom deal between Kevin Foy and James Moeser that led to this proposed location.  Personally, I think it would better serve the community by remaining downtown, but I don't think that is going to happen.It seems that many of the neighbors (but not all) have dug in their heels in opposition.  How can we as a community move forward with some kind of dialog that addresses the needs of the poor and  homeless, of this neighborhood, of other neighborhoods, and of our local governments?  It's not a good use of time to argue with red shirt folks who have already made their minds up. Why even bother?

The IFC is getting kicked out its current location by the town.  This has been the plan for a dozen years or so.  Beside the generous offer from the Univ, NOBODY has proposed another location that works.  The IFC has been diligently looking for years for another site.  All have been rejected.  This has been done publicly through the years.  This is a feasible site, except for the neighbors complaints which don't offer any real alternatives either.  So while this agreement may have been "backroom", the extended process for exploring alternatives has led to this being best possible choice.  I personally am glad that the IFC was able to work this out with the University.  I'd love to see the town do more to alleviate the neighbors' concerns (that particular park has never felt safe to my wife.  keeping it safe is the town's responsibility, not the IFC), but I also praise the IFC for coming up with a good solution which offers a lot of positives for our community and the residents in need of housing.  

Next to the police station on MLK.The perennially vacant sorority house on Hillsoborough Road.On Legion Road, near the American Legion Hall.Some place along the newly developed East 54? I was told next to the Senior Center on Homestead does not work, as the senior citizens who use it don't want the facility next to them.There was also a proposal to put it near a cemetery a while back (possibly a Legion Road site too?), but the relatives of the deceased were uncomfortable with that.So try not to paint the red shirts as a particularly evil group.  Lots of people over the course of the last several years have opposed siting the facility next to places they live, work, play and frequent.It seems to me the IFC and the town merely took advantage of UNC's offer of the Homestead Road location because it made sense financially, and that's what pushed this location to the forefront, and perhaps now to the point of no return.  But there certainly are alternatives that might work.  It's just not in IFC's or the town's or county's interest to pursue them when a free site has been given to them.   

Remember that the value of the free land is under 10% of the total project cost.  So free land is nice, but should not be the dealbreaker (dealmaker?) it seems to be.  Let's do what it right, not what is cheaper.  

Thanks, Heather, for contributing constructively to the discussion by offering some possible alternatives.The main objection to the new Community House seems to be the emergency shelter component.  It also seems the town/county will need a more robust emergency shelter whether or not the Community House offers 17 emergency cots.  I have no idea if any of the sites mentioned by Heather are really feasible, but if one were, perhaps it could be used as a site for a real emergency shelter.  I wonder if there would still be opposition to a strictly transitional facility (i.e. with no emergency beds) at the MLK/Homestead site.  Are opponents against the emergency shelter plans only, or are folks opposed to any type of men's facility there?

According to the red-shirted neighbors at the IFC public sessions, they are opposed to any type of men's facility. While they quote the stats on the Rosemary facility and talk about the jeopardy to their children of the homeless sleeping on park benches, they have so far been fairly up front with saying that with or without the 17 emergency beds, they are opposed to the facility. If they would leave their opposition at that, I personally would have more respect for them.

IFC's Concept Plan* states that the relocated shelter will house

  • 20 emergency shelter beds
  • 32 transitional housing beds
  • White Flag Beds

IFC spoke at length about how the 20 men who are not in the transitional beds are in emergency beds.  They may adopt a new term for these 20 beds, but they remain 20 emergency beds. Then you add the white flag night beds on top of these.

Might some people accept a 25 or 32 bed transitional facility with no emergency beds and no white flag beds?  Even if you do that, several problems remain:

  • The lease allows IFC to be there for a lifetime (50 yrs plus 10 yr option).  Changes will occur in leadership and probably with the program in that 60+ years.
  • There are two adjacent preschools which makes the site unsuitable for any singles mens facility and would be prohibited by most LUMO shelter ordinances which contain more than a short definition of what constitutes a shelter or transitional facility.
  • IFC rejected other sites because they lacked expansion room, thus this site must contain room for future expansion
  • Once IFC builds a $5M or $6M facility, they will able to do whatever they want there by merely going through the formality of an SUP
  • If future IFC leadership wants to change the program or funds dry up for transitional housing or for the on-site clinic services in a similar fashion as the impending loss of federal money motivated IFC to construct a separate Homestead women's shelter building, then IFC could be faced 5 or 10 years down the road with moving away from transitional housing more into emergency housing to cover costs
  • We all know that IFC is powerfully connected and if they come to the town requesting a change on an existing $5-6M facility, any SUP modification will be a blank check. Would IFC be willing to sign contracts with all the property owners within 1500 feet which obligates IFC to remain strictly a small, non-expandable transitional program?  Would UNC and the town be willing to sign the same agreement with respect to future uses of the property if another organization or the town or county decides to put a shelter there if IFC were to leave?


* Source: IFC's Concept SUP Presentation and agenda materials


Terri—I do not need your respect, but I AM surprised to see you suggest that your respect is contingent upon the closeness of my position to your opinion. Eliminating the emergency portion of the shelter still leaves the overconcentration issue, which is huge. And a very real concern for those of us opposed to the site. After much research, careful thought, and information-gathering from firsthand sources, I disagree with your position. I would never suggest that I do not respect you, or that you are not worthy of respect because you have reached a different conclusion. We can respectfully disagree, which I thought that was the point of a forum like this. I am bothered by the way that the “red-shirted neighbors” have been portrayed through all of this, and now by you, as a motley group of the thoughtless and heartless, undeserving of respect unless we agree with you. I assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. The red-shirted neighbors comprise hundreds of Chapel Hillians who are amazingly kind, generous, thoughtful, volunteer-minded, service-oriented, church-going. We run/coach/teach school/church/scout/sports programs that you and the families of most people on this blog participate in daily. You probably personally know and really like many of us. Gotta tell you- if you took the time to get to know me personally, you’d have huge respect for me and you’d probably even like me a great deal. Your suggestion that I am not worthy of your respect because I think the overconcentration issue IS also a big deal, and not solved by the elimination of the emergency component, really lessens the value of this blog and denigrates this conversation from thoughtful discussion to a name-calling battle. That’s unfortunate and unnecessary.

Tina--I didn't offer you my respect for aligning with my position. I  said that I would respect the neighbors more if they would simply say they don't want the facility in their neighborhood and leave it at that. All the rationale for why it shouldn't be sited on Homestead Road really fall apart when YOU and others said at the last meeting that even without the 17 emergency beds the facility needs to find "a better site." If you don't want the facility in your neighborhood, then let's stop all the back and forth and any pretense of discussion because no matter what changes are made, you and a certain contingency of your neighbors are still going to oppose it. It's absolutely your right to oppose it, without any need to justify that position.  If you'll read back, I said that to Steve Wells several days ago.

No, Terri--the rationale does not fall apart--that's what I'm saying.  There is STILL the overconcentration issue which brings inherent risk.  What I said at the last 2 meetings (and in my news release posted on this site) is that I oppose the location for 3 reasons: 1) There is a strong emergency component that brings great risk2) There is an overconcentration issue that brings great risk3) There is a public process issue that needs better process.  Solving for reason 1 (taking out the emergency component) does not solve for reason 2 (overconcentration inherently brings risk) and 3 (the town needs a transparent process for siting a shelter). 

And I'm saying that the opponents arguments all boil down to their feelings about what you are calling the overconcentration issue. Nothing else is relevant because no matter what, you all believe that you are being victimized by these social services. So why bother discussing the public process issue?  Actually though, I'm glad the emergency beds have been brought into the discussion. Regardless of where the new facility is sited, if we don't resolve how/where that service will be provided after Rosemary St closes, there's just going to be a similar community argument in Carrboro over the relocation of the food kitchen.

So why bother discussing the public process issue?Because ultimately it is in the best interest of the town for future responsible growth. 

One other note--I grew up in a city and was harrassed routinely by the homeless in parks and sidewalks on my way to school.  I moved to suburban Chapel Hill (and pay Chapel Hill taxes) so my kids will NOT have that experience.   


(that particular park has never felt safe to my wife.  keeping it safe is the town's responsibility, not the IFC)

Your wife* doesn't feel safe in "that particular park" and you are advocating to add more at-risk social services?  Doesn't compute.Yes, it is the town's responsibility, when siting for 3rd parties, in ordinances, during zoning, and during SUP reviews, to take this into account.We shouldn't add to existing problems and then add police to try to mitigate.  Mitigate with planning and fair share.* (I volunteered at the PTA Council BOCC candidate forum with jcb and his "wife" this week.  She did a great job organizing.)

You say that in your opinion,
the shelter should stay downtown. Are you saying that you believe the
new facility--a rehabilitative center to help those men who qualify get
themselves off the street--would be best sited downtown OR are you
saying that a facility similar to what is currently located on Rosemary
St--an emergency shelter--would be best sited downtown?  

On "white flag" nights, they do not check their sobriety . The long term residents are working on inproving themselves , which is a good thing . I have supported IFC with my time and money over the last several years through Orange United Methodist Church . It is a needed program to help others get back on track .  There are two programs basically. Long Term residents  and emergency shelter .   I think the argument is the  other way , Foy cut a deal and the now there isn't any discussion to  alternate sites .  We need more public input and at least entertain other sites . The current council needs to scrutinize this location as it has scrutinzed others who have come before it in the  past .

Could someone explain to me the nature of the back room deal between Foy and Moeser?

If you can figure that out, let us all know!  

Here's how the current proposed location of the shelter was "decided" upon: http://www.orangepolitics.org/2008/05/the-new-location-of-the-shelter-is

Please see my other post about Gainesville's process and about the Town of Chapel Hill's involvement in picking the site and stacking the deck with contingent grant money. It's more than a "proposed" location when the public was excluded from the site selection process and the first opportunity for input is when a building design is plopped in front of them.This has all the markings of a politically planned fait accompli.

I want to come back to Ruby's comment of last week that called my research "unsupported facts."  Last night Chris Moran himself substantiated these facts: 1) Ruby said she highly doubted that white flag nights are more that 1/2 of the year.  Chris Moran last night said that there were 197 white flag nights last year.  According to Chris, 54% of the year qualifies as white flag night.  I want to make sure we all heard that.  2) The emergency component of the shelter IS a wet shelter.  The board member in my last group confirmed that.  Ask Chris.   

Yes, Chris did say there were 197 white flag nights. But he also quoted statistics about how many guests they had on those nights. I don't remember what those numbers were, but they were lower than 17 and in several cases, I believe he said there were no overnight stays despite the weather. Furthermore, he said there was one individual who stayed for 5 nights but in general most overnight stays were unique instances for
the individual. This is a great example of the misuse of statistics. Numbers rarely if ever tell the whole story. They almost always rely on interpretation, especially when it comes to such unique populations as human beings.

The issue is the growth that the white flag nights are capable of under policies codified in the SUP over the next 50-60+ years, assuming that they are codified and are enforced.  (I asked the town to tell me a case where they enforced an SUP and they couldn't give me an example.)

Chris has stated in the January town council meeting that IFC has housed up to 81 in the current shelter and housed 80 many of the nights in January.  So this is 31 over the max of 50 for the building?  Which would be basically twice the supposed max of white flag nights at the relocated shelter (which is 60% bigger).  Based on homeless shelter ordinances in other jurisdictions, the max capacity is calculated at 50 to 100 sq foot per resident or 320 to 160 men with a 16K sq ft building.

I wrote down in my notes that Chris stated that in 2009, the most nights that one man stayed was 37 nights.  (see my other post from last night for more white flag night stats).

There is no misuse of statistics.  There was an attempt by IFC to hide the number of white flag nights per year when Chris and other IFC reps openly scoffed at the numbers we estimated using their policy and the RDU weather data.  We talked about these numbers in January at the LUMO hearing, we talked about them in March in a facilitated meeting, and people asked about them in the first two facilitated meetings.  People scoffed at the numbers here and in the IFC facebook group.  If we hadn't pressed the issue, then it would have remained hidden.

Ruby, I am glad they sound incorrect to you.  Perhaps if you knew all of the facts, you might change your opinion of the proposed new site.  At the facilitated discussion on March 4th among the Town, residents, University, and IFC, Chris Moran was the one who stated that the emergency shelter would accept men who were drunk and/or high into the shelter.  This is a fact.    Regarding the number of white flag nights (when weather conditions are rainy, fall below 40 degrees, or climb above 95 degrees) the 206 nights comes from national weather service data for RDU from 2009.  This is another fact.As far as what citizens who oppose the proposed site feel, I encourage you to look at the Community Discussion Notes from the March 31st meeting posted on the IFC website and prepared by the meeting facilitators, Leading and Governing Associates, Inc.   These notes clearly show that citizens are concerned about safety (mentioned in the notes of all 10 small groups), white flag nights (7 of 10), and overconcentration of social services in one small area of Chapel Hill (6 of 10).  The IFC themselves stated that these issues along with the site selection process were general themes that they heard at the meeting. If you want to look at statements that sound incorrect, the IFC states on their website that “People who are homeless are not any more dangerous than those who live in homes.”  However, according to the Orange County 10 year plan to end chronic homelessness 30% of homeless are from the criminal justice system, 23% are severally mentally ill, and 37% have chronic substance abuse issues.  I highly doubt that is the same makeup of those residents in Orange County who are not homeless. We seem to both dislike how this site was chosen.  I am advocating for a public process for the selection of a new shelter site, one that involves public criteria along with a formal evaluation and ranking of potential sites.  It seems to me that a public process would be a good use of everyone’s time.

I wrote the release that Ruby feels is “not helping.” I am not sure what that means exactly, but I assure you that these ARE the reasons that hundreds of Chapel Hill citizens oppose the site. Also—the facts you say sound incorrect ARE CORRECT. If it sounds like they can’t possibly be right, you are having the same reaction I am. Further clarifications: 1. Emergency Shelter. With even 17 emergency beds, the facility will be an emergency shelter, whatever else it also is. It is also the only men’s emergency shelter in the county. I felt as if I were in a Kurt Vonnegut book at the meeting the other night: “This is not an emergency shelter. Now let’s talk about the emergency shelter portion of the program.” 2. White Flag Nights. We (exceptional academic researchers and IT professionals) painstakingly compiled weather data from the national weather service for 2009. 206 nights met the criteria published by the IFC for white flag nights. Molly (above) asked Chris Moran in a post if there really were 206 white flag nights in 2009. Chris did not answer her, but rather said that he could not answer without going back through “countless logs.” What is fact is that 206 nights met the weather criteria published by the IFC for white flag nights. I encourage anyone else to get the data themselves from the national weather service and do the counting. 3. Wet Shelter. I attended a meeting facilitated by Andy Sachs of the Dispute Settlement Center that included Chris Moran, Roger Stancil (town manager), other reps from the IFC, a rep from UNC, and four neighbors. At that meeting, Chris Moran looked me in the eye and told me directly that the emergency beds could be used to shelter men who had been drinking or using drugs. Laurie Tucker of the IFC further noted that usually the drunk and high men just wanted to fall asleep. Allowing men who have been drinking or using to stay in the emergency portion of the shelter makes this a wet shelter by definition and increases risk.4. Public Process. There has been no public process to selecting this site. Only IFC criteria have been considered. Chapel Hill has no policy for siting social services and there is no list of criteria (that includes criteria other than the IFC’s) that are ranked against which a series of sites was vetted. Rather this site was announced one day with no public process. It WOULD be illegal in Winston-Salem, which does have policies about siting shelters. 5. Overconcentration of Social Services. Bedded social services near communities bring risk to those communities. Simple as that. More social services bring more risk. There is enough risk in the 1/10 of a square mile of Chapel Hill that houses these services. Be kind to your Parkside compatriots—several of them have Freedom House residents looking in their back windows at their teenaged daughters (this is a true story from a neighbor of mine). Think about that and understand why they do not want to accept more risk in their neighborhood. Chapel Hill needs a policy on siting social services so that the entire community assumes a portion of the inherent risk.  Finally, there are no names but mine in my release because I did not feel comfortable using names publicly without permission. I have names, and I sent this release to the media encouraging them to cover the community meetings in a more formal way. Some papers did this (see the Herald Sun). However, lest you think I made up these issues and things I heard citizens opposed to the site say, you can check out this same list of issues that the 3rd party facilitators also heard citizens say on the IFC’s website. Having said all this, I want to be clear. The IFC is a wonderful organization that does great work. I have personally supported IFC programs through my church. Remember also that most of us “red shirt folks” are great parents, incredible school/PTA volunteers, soccer and baseball coaches, scout leaders, church volunteers, board leaders, community activists, and strong advocates for social justice. We also believe that it makes zero sense to site a men’s homeless shelter next to a children’s park, daycares and residential neighborhoods. Chapel Hill needs a better site for the men’s homeless shelter.

Same old misinformation and lies from opponents to the IFC Community House program, proposed to be located at the corner of MLK Blvd and Homestead Road (not in the middle of Homestead Park!).It's a waste of time to argue with these people, you might as well debate a post in the ground. Weather data from the national weather service? LOL.March on Red Shirts! Thought you were wolfpack fans.

Phillies fans actually.  And adjacent to Homestead Park, not in the middle of it (we never suggested that).  The lies are not mine, my friend.  I am speaking from a position of facts and data and direct conversation with the IFC.  I oppose the site with very good reason.  You can look at the same data and form a different opinion (intelligent people of good conscience can do that), but don't tell me I haven't done my homework or taken a thoughtful, well-researched, well-considered opinion.  I have done all of that.  And I disagree with you.    Finally--"post inthe ground" sounds an awful lot like an ad hominem personal attack.  I've not attacked anyone personally, and I'd appreciate the same consideration. 

Virtually all of the opposition to the IFC's shelter site, as far as I can tell, focuses on the perception of safety to the neighbors.  They seem to feel that the clients of the shelter, particularly the emergency clients, may hang around in the park or its surroundings if they are turned away or when they leave in the morning.  What if the Town commited to extra police patrols of the area, both night and day, to insure the safety of the neighborhoods.  It would cost the taxpayers of Chapel Hill.  By my guess it might cost the average homeowner $15-20 per year.   But the Town does have some responsibility to deal with the homeless issue in Town.  It isn't just the IFC's problem.  And if extra police patrols would bring the neighbors the peace of mind necessary to accept the shelter I say it is a price the entire Town should be willing to accept.  The extra police patrols could also be used to increase traffic safety on Homestead Road and MLK Jr. Blvd.  And over time, if those initial fears turn out to be unfounded, the extra police patrols could certainly be used elsewhere.

We already face budget shortfalls ... Do you want a tax increase ?

Jon,I think it is entirely BS to say that we can never raise taxes.  And I think any politician who promises not to raise taxes is extremely short-sighted and is acting irresponsibly  because they cannot possibly know what the needs are going to be in the future.  There are services that this Town and this Community need to provide to its citizens and one of those services, IMO, is to provide the kind of services that the IFC provides.  And you can't convince me that the average homeowner in CH cannot spare an extra $15-20 per year to help provide that service.  I see far too many SUVs parked in driveways and on the roads and I see far too many people in the coffee shops and cafes ordering $4 lattes to believe that in CH we couldn't afford about an extra $5 per person to support the IFC mission. Taxes are the price we pay to live in this wonderful community and unfortunately, that price sometimes needs to go up.  So yes, if a tax increase is what it would take to make the potential neighbors of the IFC site feel safe, then yes, I want a tax increase.

... when you'll say uncle?If your premise is that it's taxes make the community wonderful to live in, and that everyone can afford to pay more based on your observations of vehicles driven and beverages consumed, and that taxes must go up to pay for the community services that are obviously (to you) required ... then, why don't you just remit all of your income to the tax collecting authorities?George ... someday, somehow, somebody is going to say 'no' to bigger government.  I'm seeing that happen, I think.  Mote to the point of this thread:  It's wonderful to see people fighting about helping others.  It illuminates the basic problem that underpins all of progressivism, which is, somebody else thinks they're smarter than you and wants to spend your money on their pet social projects. As long as you're the guy who thinks he's smarter, and you're politically empowered to confiscate somebody else's wealth, you're good to go.The problem comes when enough other people get annoyed at you and band together to change the balance of power.  The homeless shelter is one of those divisive issues, like the recent property tax debacle, that will help galvanize a real political opposition force.  The shelter advocates are not doing themselves any favors by frgamenting support from those who'd otherwise help maintain the status quo. If I were a local progressive, I'd try and back off the hot and untimely public-expenditure issues (shelter move, library expansion, greenway paving, etc.)  for a while, lest I lose power when election time rolls around again.And I'd certainly not tell people they drive too-expensive cars and drink too-expensive coffee and therefore you have decided they should pay more taxes to fund more police services to protect neighbors from a homeless shelter that people don't really want, anyway, even if it's politically incorrect to come out and admit.  (apologies for that painful excursion into grammar-hades)Steve    

Steve,I'm not going to apologize for my opinion that we live in an affluent community and that as citizens of such we have a moral responsibility to help those less fortunate than us.  You apparently don't share that opinion and you are certainly entitled to your opinion as much as I am to mine.  Good luck.

George--yes--let's help the less fortunate.  Let's NOT do it at the Homestead Road site. 

George, I agree that Chapel Hill-Carrboro is an affluent community but that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone who lives in the community is affluent.  People have chosen to live in this community for a variety of reasons and some of them have stretched the finances to do so.  

Jim,I agree with what you say but I still believe that someone living in a $300K house in CH can probably afford an extra $15-20 per year in taxes.  And "stretching" is relative:  I don't remember many times when my own father wasn't working two jobs to make ends meet.  Of course, that was a different generation - one that didn't feel anyone owed them anything and one that would do whatever it took to survive and do so without complaints. 

I'd like to suggest that we can serve the "white flag" night overflows if each church agreed to be responsible for a certain # of our fellow men in need. Perhaps a men's group within the church could be called by Chris Moran when this occurs and use the church van to pick up the men, take them to their church, and bed them down for the night. If all churches participated, each church would have only a few men and the process would allow the whole community to be involved. Alternatives to paying more taxes are to 1)leave the men to their own devices: 2)organize a humane response within the community churches by paying not with our money through taxation but with our time and compassion. 

The idea is good if it would happen, but in reality it would not. Police are already over streached, under manned and under funded. Just ask the police chief. Also what about future years, can you depend on Tax increases to fund it or would it be eventually cut. Look at the current cuts in police & education funding. So even though this is a good solution in reality it would not happen from past history and placing safety on such voatile foundation is very risky at best. Why are people so easy to take such risk with innocent defenseless children is beyond me, but this blog is full of them.

If you want to get in to stats I think you'll find that the innocent defenseless children in our communities are more at risk from those who are inside their house rather than those who are outside of their house.Again, this endless thread is going nowhere. It's sort of like hoping Senator Burr will vote for one of President O's Supreme Court nominees.See you at the hearings, red shirts.

We just can't keep thinking our residents are an endless source of revenue. At some point we have to step back and look at this runaway train and see what our future holds. In the last 2 revaluations many AVERAGE middle class residents saw there taxes go up 25 - 45% in each of the revaluation years. Our commisioners pretty much ignored the massive protest to the last revaluation and went ahead and raised pretty much everyone's property tax and had the gall to call it revenue neutral. This is excessive and completely ignores the needs and concerns of the middle class. If it keeps up many of us will be in line to get a bed at the shelter.

Arthur,       I agree that elected officials cannot think of residents as a platinum credit card to be tapped whenever the urge strikes.  But I also think that residents need to be prepared to pay small increases, such as $15-20 per household to support basic services that benefit the community at large.  I know that many do not agree with this philosophy but I believe it is a responsibility that we have.  The increases you mentioned were obviously much greater than this and were the direct result of a revaluation that was done just as the economy tanked.  It is worth noting that the news reports said that 60% of the revaluations that were appealed were upheld suggesting that the process may not be entirely broken.



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