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.



My point is not about whether revaluations were accurate or not. The point is that we rely mostly on property tax to run the county. Most of which is residential. The system is broken and totally unfair. Revenues need to be diversified (ie sales tax, transfer tax, higher impact fees, managed commercial growth) so someone that is smack dab in the middle does not get nailed with these 29 to 40% revaluation increases on top of the regular annual increases. Now tack on another 18-20% if you live in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. This system is unsustainable and will do nothing but drive the middle and lower classes from the county.

This reminds of the story of Chicken Litlle.  Have you ever heard that one?  Chicken Little keeps saying the sky is falling even when it isn't and so eventually people stop paying attention to him even when the time comes that the sky is actually falling. Tbe analogy is that we as citizens are constantly told that the town or county needs more tax money.  It's always something.  So now when the cause is actually legitmate, people are immune because of all the requests we've heard before.  The moral, as in the Chicken Little story, is that you shouldn't alarm people unnecessarily, otherwise they'll tune you out.  Note that that pertains not to you per se but it does pertain to the area as a whole.  The CH Museum recently said it wants money from CH.  Anyone want to bet on whether they'll get it?  The building they are in is the old CH library.  A dozen years ago, did CH plan to expand from supporting an old, existing library at the old site to a new, expanded library at the new site and in addition to that a museum at the old site, or did it instead just plan to expand the existing library albeit on a different site?  The latter.  What actually happened?  The former.  The point isn't the magnitude of this particular item but rather the relentlessness of more, more, more.  So long as a more, more, more approach is pursued, a backlash against it can come at any time.  The best way to avoid a backlash from eventually happening is to avoid the reasons for being one.

The IFC created a temporary shelter at the old town hall on Rosemary St back in the 1980s. Since that time, a new site has been discussed and for the past 10 years, there has been an active search for a site that would not alienate neighbors.Two sites, one on Legion Road and one in Pine Knolls (off Merritt Mill), were publicly discussed and withdrawn due to neighbor opposition. Other sites have been reviewed but never made it to public discussion. At the same time, members of neighborhoods from all over Chapel Hill are complaining that downtown is not safe and emphasizing the need to move the shelter.  And yet, not one neighborhood has been willing to host the new rehab facility. If that isn't NIMBYism, I've never seen NIMBYism. It doesn't matter where the new facility is sited, the neighbors are going to object so let's not pretend that there is a better site. Was there a deal between Foy and Moeser? I doubt it but can't prove my sketpicism. I think a more realistic way to describe this was two town leaders getting together and coming up with a solution to a long-standing community problem.Another fact is that during the development of the 10-year-plan there was a lot of expressed desire not to simply provide temporary housing but to provide the services required to help homeless individuals get themselves off the street permanently. The IFC is stepping up to that challenge.Continuing to draw a direct parallel between the shelter on Rosemary Street and the planned rehab facility is duplicitous as far as I'm concerned. In Tina's post on facts, she says "“This is not an emergency shelter. Now let’s talk about the emergency shelter portion of the program."" The fact is that the public discussions have not focused on any of the benefits of the new facility because the red-shirted neighbors immediately take over the conversation and speak only to the 17 emergency beds. Chris Moran said at the first meeting that those beds are cots. They will not be put out unless they are needed. That means the new facility is not being designed to provide emergency shelter. But someone on the outside listening into this conversation would never know that. It's time to put the greater needs of the community, to provide a
compassionate, long-term solution to the problem of homeless men, over
those fears of specific neighborhoods. 

Terri, so long as: 1) there are emergency beds and 2) 2/3 of the year qualifies, according to the IFC's definitions, for white flag nights, and 3) there is no other men's emergency shelter anywhere else in the county, then this is an emergency shelter.  I truthfully don't see how you can spin it any other way. Whatever else it is, it is also an emergency shelter.  We cannot ignore that component of it.  You say there is no better site, but this has not been demonstrated through public process.  I love our town's "highest PhD per capita" bragging point.  I just can't believe all that brain power, if working together through a public process, can't find a better site.What are the other sites you mention that were reviewed but never  made it to public discussion?  Carl Lastnameididnotget, on the IFC board (who was in my small group) tells me that the Legion road site was never really considered because of a sewer issue (not a public opposition one).  As for the NIMBY thing, this is not a NIMBY issue.  The area in question already has EVERYTHING in our back yard.   Enough already.  We have assumed enough risk.  It is time for another area of Chapel Hill (not to mention the county) to share the burden.   

Terri says: "It is time to put the greater needs of the community...over the those fears of specific neighborhoods." I say: But NOT over the safety of my children and every child who uses Homestead Park.  The needs of 52 plus 17 do not outweigh the needs of the 1,900 families in homes around the shelter, the 900 apartment complex residents, the kids in 3 daycares and 2 afterschool programs, and all the families who use the park. Let's count and weigh community needs appropriately.   

There are 52 beds--those beds will serve many individuals over the years, so it is misleading to claim that the needs of 52 plus 17 are all that will be served. The greater good for the community is to end homelessness. At any time, any one of us could be on the street. According to the people in my small group on Tuesday night, there is little to no crime in Parkside or the other surrounding neighborhoods now, despite the claim that they are already overloaded with social service agencies. Since the rehab facility is new, we have no crime statistics to apply to it.

Planning is about creating compatible uses and balance.  Siting all of the at-risk overnight facilities in one tiny area is wrong, just like siting additional landfills or transfer stations is not appropriate for Rogers Rd.  From the comprehensive plan:  “The Chapel Hill residents believe that protecting the physical and social fabric of neighborhoods is key to maintaining the Town’s community character”.

Parkside and North Forest Hills have more crime than other suburban neighborhoods in Chapel Hill and the public facilities sited there contribute substantially to that situation.

See www.nccrime.us


Since the rehab facility is new, we have no crime statistics to apply to it.

100 W Rosemary has the 2nd highest number of arrests of any place in Chapel Hill. 

The transition beds, emergency beds, and white flag beds are moving to the new facility.  Only the soup kitchen component is planned to be somewhere else.  Calling it something else does not make it new.

This is about risk.  Freedom House detoxes 850 drug addicts per year in our neighborhoods and is a magnet for halfway houses.  They provide rehab and outpatient services to thousands per year and only half are of the detox patients are even from Orange County.

The statement "The whole community outweighs the needs of some neighborhoods" would justify a 3rd landfill at Rogers Rd, which I spoke out against and spoke in favor of a public process, just like should have been done here instead of the town picking the site.

Children live everywhere in Chapel Hill.  Why we should put your children over mine or someone else's?I can't remember who said it in a comment above, but yes it's true that the "red shirters" are not any more NIMBY than the other neighborhoods and businesses that have opposed being near the shelter - almost always on some other grounds besides not wanting to be near the shelter. Hmmm.

Ruby--it's LITERALLY adjacent to a children's park, daycares, and preschools.  That makes it unacceptably close to ALL the children in Chapel Hill.  Every kid who plays soccer and baseball for Rainbow or the Y or the Chinese School, every kid who swims at the aquatic center.  The site puts an at-risk poplation literally next to not just children from these neighborhoods but large percentages of the children in Chapel Hill.  Seriously--you don't put a homeless shelter next to a children's park.  Period.

Or to put it another way, it is foolish to surround one single park with a single's men's shelter, a large/expanded drug detox center, and a women's shelter, especially when they are the only ones in the entire county.Residents and kids who wish to travel to the park on foot or by bike from east of MLK either have to go by a drug detox center or a single's men's shelter.  That is not the way to do city planning and it was a town planner who picked this site, according to Roger Stancil, town manager.

I have to ask, when the IFC had the opportunity to relocate next
to the police station they refused? As Mr Moran stated "We didn't want
that stigma". What stigma? Why are they afraid to be near a police
station? If I became homeless, I sure would feel safer and more secure
if the shelter was near a police station. I am not at all saying it
should be located near a police station, just the fact that the IFC had
the opportunity to place the shelter next to it and refused.
Why have the downtown businesses been advocating the move of the
shelter out of downtown for years? Well documented via articles and
video in the past years. Several people in oppositionI
have read their biases on viewing one meeting and non factual input from the IFC. Where is the
thorough investigation on the the IFC’s  & town's part? The past history,
interviewing people throughout the town, businesses, law enforcement,
researching effects of shelters in other communities. It seems to me
this group of concerned citizens has been doing just that because the
IFC, town council & others have not, yet when their facts from
research are provided they are ignored. Some of these people have been
directly affected by the expansion of Freedom house and have reported
being verbally abused with vulgar language by the inhabitants as they
pass by on their way to the park. What do you expect their response to
be then when they now see another type of shelter being located near the
park? Do these people’s opinions and experiences not count? Just
because many are from another country & are minorities, they are not
to be heard and then taken advantage of over and over. Why don’t the peopl in oppositon come spend time with the citizens of the
surrounding neighborhoods and park users and get their perspective and
input before assuming false accusations about them. Many of these people
have provided assistance and worked at the current IFC shelter and
other such facilities within Chapel Hill and outside the area. Why have
you not done the same and come into these communities before you write
and speak about them?
Finally, for all those in favor of relocating the Shelter, the
proposed shelter will have emergency overnight beds. There are several
levels of residency defined and not all overnight stays will want to
join the program too progress to the other levels and for those not
willing to abide by the rules will be turned away at the door and as
docmnetd in an interview Mr. Moran stated, "Not my problem, that's a
County problem."  Anyway, for those who are in favor, I propose you look
around your own neighborhoods for a suitable location and bring that
location up to the IFC and town council and take the initiative to help
move the shelter to that location. Any takers?

Was the IFC really offered a site next to the police station?  If so why was that site refused?

Mr. Moran made that statement in his speech at the town meeting about relocating the sheltor to the Homestead location. He gave some history of the IFC in trying to relocate and part of that he stated they had the opportunity to realocate near the police stattion and that the IFC refused to relocate to that location. In his words "because of the stigma". He gave no other reason for resfusing that location. Certainly makes one wonder. 

The Homestead section of Chapel Hill is already the center of the bulk of 24x7 social services and helping the homeless. Yes, I said helping the homeless. The Freedom House does just that.  Not to mention the Women’s and Children shelter on Homestead.  Where is the rest of Chapel Hill's and Orange County's contribution. Reading this forum it's easy for those who don't live at Homestead/MLK Jr section of town to label those opposed as "NIMBY" or whatever.  Oh yea, some that oppose don't even live in the surrounding neighborhood.  What acronym do we give them?  FONIMBY If the Homestead/MLK Jr Blvd site becomes the new IFC shelter, we can pretty much count on it's expansion in much the same way Chapel Hill Town Council approved the Freedom House expansion. Since it's expansion  there has been an increase in disturbances, loud voices in the evening and  loitering of its "clients" , especially in the evening.  I heard it announced in the IFC info session on 4/05 that at least one home's value has decreased due to Freedom House's larger presence.  (That neighbor had his home's tax value lowered as a result, which translates into less funds for Chapel Hill and Orange county.)  If you live in this area of Chapel Hill where all of these social services programs areunjustifiably located in 1/10th of a square mile of each other,  it's your duty to hold the Town Council and IFC accountable when it comes to this next strong-armed move of a new IFC men's shelter.  The approval of Freedom House's expansion was met with little opposition and now the folks who's backyard property line literally adjoin the Freedom House are paying the price.  The recent expansion of the Freedom House is an indicator of what could happen in the future with the IFC's men shelter at Homestead Rd and MLK Jr. Blvd.. It likely would expand.   Indicators in our society show the need for more social services programs is on the rise. Here's what the Freedom House stated in their 2008 annual report:  "Over 600 clients were seen in the outpatient clinic in Orange County last year, and this number will increase once the new building is in use. Freedom House continues to see an increasing number of individuals seeking services within communities—our detox and crisis services operate at a 100% utilization rate. Because of the very nature of crisis services, a waiting list of more than 24 hours is unacceptable. We work to admit people as quickly as we can to the program, yet an estimated 64% of those seeking treatment are homeless as a result of their addiction and/or mental illness. The opening of these two buildings will allow us to provide quality care to more clients in a timely manner.( http://freedomhouserecovery.org/home/annual%20report%202008.pdf) Wait, did the above excerpt say 64% of substance abusers coming to Freedom House are HOMELESS, with a status of DRUG ADDICTION or MENTAL ILLNESS?   I believe this supports one of many points the opposition side has been stating.  The homeless have a high concentration of substance abuse, especially when the component of emergency shelter is in-play.  Let’s go ahead and overload this side of town and ignore the local residents concerns for safety. Drug addicts and mentally ill coming and going from an emergency shelter couldn’t possibly cause a problem. So, go ahead Town Council and IFC, pile on the homeless population into the Homestead area.  All sarcasm aside,  I could see how putting yet another social services facility within ~700 feet might get those who live in area opposed.  Especially when this part of the Chapel Hill community is already handling the bulk of 24/7 social services.  With all the land under UNC's domain should I believe UNC has no other property it could donate?With all the town development should I believe nowhere else could this shelter exist?   And lastly, the next time someone states the IFC has been looking for another location for years, Please cite the locations and GIVE THE REASONS.   I have yet to see anyone provide the reason for dismissing past sites.  Well, besides the Police Station site. Chris Moran said they didn't want the stigma associated with being next to the police station. Good Grief.  Is that all it took  to dismiss the site.

This one is from the UNC school of gov't blog:http://sogweb.sog.unc.edu/blogs/ncclaw/?p=529From USA Today a few years ago:http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-11-18-homeless-offenders_N.htm

these articles contribute to discussion? They add to the fearmongering IMHO. These neighbors want the IFC to find a 'better site.' But contributions such as these articules pretty much assure that no site will ever be accepted because the image of any man who uses the IFC continues to be painted such that they're all sex offenders, drunks, child molesters, etc. Where are the stories about good people who are down on their luck and just need a helping hand? Are you willing to sacrifice those individuals to protect against the few who may fit this image being painted of all homeless men as criminal?

Articles like that do the opposite of adding to the discussion. 

Terri,Clearly having an adequate shelter facility in OC is the right thing to do.  It would help me a lot in understanding your point of view if you could explain why there is a stigma attached to having the shelter near the police station, particularly if its purpose is to house people down on their luck.  I am starting to think that maybe this facility has too many purposes.  Could they be divided?  Jim

I don't know anything about the decision on the property next to the police station, but I agree that the emergency beds need to be separated out from the rehabilitative services. That's where I am directing my energy. 

There was consensus in my small group at the second IFC question-gathering meeting that all the emergency beds should be in another location.  The group was composed of 3 IFC volunteers, 2 neighbors, 1 community member.Two of the volunteers felt strongly that the emergency beds should be located with the soup kitchen in Carrboro.

I have served at IFC over 30 times over the past 5 years , I believe in helping those who need need help,  through service at OUMC.  We need this facility in Orange County, we just need a better location .

Not many homeless mentioned in this view:http://www.corr.state.mn.us/level3/pdf/ Characteristics%20and%20behavioral%20indicators%20of%20adults%20who%20molest%20children.pdfI agree with Terry, it is outrageous to paint the homeless as all criminals, predators and addicts.

Substance abuse, mental health issues and alcoholism disproportionately afflict Orange County homeless residents. Many have served time in the criminal justice system. 

  • 30% released from criminal justice system
  • 23% severely mentally ill
  • 37% chronic substance abuse issues.

From the Orange County Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness(Section 2.2, "The Nature of Homelessness in North Carolina and Orange County")

Someone who doesn't understand statistics could easily interpret what you've posted to mean that 90% of all homeless people in Orange County have been in jail, are mentally ill or are substance abusers. In reality many individuals fill more than 1 of those categories. What does "disproportionately afflict" mean? Does it mean higher than in the non-homeless population or higher than the national average or is it just sound and fury, signifying nothing?

These are the facts and they are published by our local governments.  A link has been provided to the source, which follows the same format as summarized here.  There is no claim that the attributes are mutually exclusive.  Thus, your subject line contains a strong allegation that is not valid.  

What does "disproportionately afflict" mean? Does it mean higher than
in the non-homeless population or higher than the national average or
is it just sound and fury, signifying nothing?

That is an excellent question and I am glad you asked it.Chris Moran has stated on numerous occasions that the ratio of criminals and mentally ill are the same in the homeless population as in the general population of Chapel Hill.  However, his statements are unsubstantiated and do not reflect reality. All people, whether homeless or not, deserve respect.  The issue is whether or not this is an appropriate location for the shelter, and in assessing that, these statistics are relevant when considering whether to locate the shelter next to preschools and parks as well as overconcentrate at risk social services.

By your own admission you summarized what you interpreted from the county report.  I haven't found a single chart that gives this information so I cannot go back and confirm your calculations. Which population did you use to summarize--the chronic homeless count, the total count of all homeless (in what year?), or an already extrapolated count based on national averages? Since the primary population to be served by the Community House is the chronically homeless (the focus of this discussion), they should be the reference point for reporting any data  in this discussion. Why not simply quote the text instead of summarizing? According to the report, in 2006 the chronically homeless population in Orange County consisted of 39 individuals (Table 2, page 6).

In Orange County, 237 homeless individuals were counted on January 26, 2006.• 39 people were considered to be chronically homeless,• 54 were identified as being severely mentally ill,• 88 were identified as being chronic substance abusers,• 11 were veterans,• 11 were identified as persons with HIV/AIDS, and• 27 were victims of domestic violence.

For those reading, please note that this report does NOT estimate what
proportion (percentage) of the chronically homeless population have
problems with mental health, substance abuse nor does it estimate how
many have histories with this criminal justice system. Nor does it make any claims that each individual is counted in only 1 category. That leaves open the possibility (the reality from my experience in collecting some of this data) that there is double counting.  

  • 88/237 = 37% "chronic substance abusers"
  • 54/237 = 23% "severely mentally ill"
  • "Thirty percent of single people and 15 percent of family members identified themselves as having been released from the criminal justice system" [emphasis added] under the "Nature of Homeless in North Carolina" Header on page 20.

  First two bullets were quoted by Terri above and are from the paragraph starting "In Orange County, 237 homeless individuals were counted". 

Terri, you say “I haven't found a single chart that gives this information.” I urge you to look at Page 6, Table 2: Homeless Subpopulations in Orange County which clearly states that 22.78% of the homeless in Orange County are severely mentally ill and 37.13% are chronic substance abusers. These subpopulations total 100% which means that each individual is counted in only 1 category. The report further states on Page 5 under the section Nature of Homelessness in North Carolina- According to the results of a January 26, 2005 point-in-time survey conducted in 80 counties by the North Carolina Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Program that 30% of single homeless people identified themselves as having been released from the criminal justice system.The focus of this discussion is the relocation of the men’s shelter, a men’s shelter which will have a significant emergency component. The IFC has stated to the Town Council, at previous meetings, and on their website there IS an emergency component to the new shelter. At the 10/19/09 Town Council meeting, the IFC presented their Concept Plan for the new shelter which called for 20 emergency shelter beds, 32 transitional housing beds, and additional White Flag beds. This would indicate that on white flag nights (which counted 206 in 2009) the majority of shelter residents are in the emergency component. The IFC’s website states: "At our new facility, IFC will be able to provide floor space on the first floor for anyone caught in harm’s way or referred to us by a local police department, congregation or community member." And "the IFC will continue to assist anyone in need of emergency shelter at its new location." Clearly these statistics ARE relevant to the discussion.

Using Table 2 and taking it as written, it separates out the chronically homeless from having substance abuse or mental illness. In other words, if you believe this chart, the primary population targeted for services at Community House (the chronically homeless) do not have any substance abuse issues nor do they suffer from mental illness. They are simply homeless. Does that sound right to you? Doesn't to me, so yes, I am questioning some of the data used in the OC 10 year plan.The focus of this discussion is NOT on the relocation of the Rosemary Street shelter and until you and others understand that we aren't going to make any progress in resolving concerns. The focus IS on creating a rehabilitative center to help those who are chronically homeless. The problem is that IFC has the vision for the rehabilitative center but no one has to-date stepped up to address how emergency shelter will be provided when Rosemary St closes. As a community, I feel we would demonstrate our compassion toward the homeless and each other if we would focus our efforts on solving the emergency shelter issue separately from the Community House discussions.  

If the focus of this discussion is not on the relocation then why is the title “IFC Community House meets the neighbors?”  The IFC has linked the transitional and emergency programs by including a large portion of emergency beds in the new shelter.  It is the IFC’s intention for the new shelter to also be an emergency shelter.  There are currently no plans for a 2nd men’s shelter to be used for an emergency program.  As long as there is an emergency component to the new shelter, neighbors who are in favor of a better site cannot be expected to separate the concerns.  There is no lack of compassion for the homeless by me or any of the neighbors with whom I have spoken.  However, there are grave safety and overconcentration concerns that have yet to be addressed by anyone.   Regarding Table 2, you bring up a good point.  Assuming that some of the chronic homeless (and for that matter members of the other subpopulations) have chronic substance abuse issue and/or severe mental illness issues then the actual percentages could be much higher then the reported 37% and 23% respectively.

I acknowledge that the current plans show 17 temporary beds available for times when emergency shelter is needed, but the fact that they are temporary cots, not permanent beds clearly delineates a service being made available until a permanent solution is found from the intended design/purpose of the facility. Rather than argue, why don't we all join together and request town governments pursue an immediate discussion about how to meet the emergency needs rather than denying access to those who want rehabilitation?As for the data, the actual percentages don't tell you anything. You would have to see the raw data to make any well-informed, accurate statements about anything other than the total count.

Rather than argue, why don't we all join together and request town
governments pursue an immediate discussion about how to meet the
emergency needs rather than denying access to those who want

The context of this discussion is an SUP that will be filed in one month and on the town council agenda in less than 2 months from now.IFC and the towns and county should have had an open discussion about this and the siting prior to IFC taking the backroom deal.  Certainly for any proposed future emergency-only shelter to be believable given the 20 year "temporary" Rosemary location, it would have to be built prior to considering the proposed facility on Homestead, particularly in the current economic situation and with the county having reached its debt ceiling.  It seems that grants for two facilities would be in competition with one another with each getting less or IFC's facility totally losing out versus the town-run or county-run facility. We are discussing what is imminently on the table.  Also, as stated previously, many are opposed to even a transitional shelter and what a transitional shelter could change to in the future based on the proposed location's proximity to preschools, the park, and the overconcentration of at-risk social services

How does the Northern Area Task force study relate to this and other proposed residential and non-profit projects in the Northern Transitional area?  It seems that we are very willing to bar commercial development that pays taxes,   but somehow overlooking the proposed impact of residential and non-profit  land uses that create many of the same conditions the Task Force was concerned about. Neither of those pay sufficent taxes for the services they receive, so they are all revenue negative.     Right now I am aware of a large church project, two  multi-family residential projects and the IFC project all proposed and progressing for the Northern area of town.   If we are going to permit development in my area of town (I live in Timberlyne), I'd like to see it more diverse and producing tax income and jobs too.   

The owner of the retail at Homestead and MLK tried to buy the Duke Power land, but he told me that Duke Power wouldn't even let him put in a bid or accept an offer.  There could have been close to $20M of taxable property there.  Perhaps the ongoing deals with landfill methane power generation, etc. helped exclude private entities from trying to acquire the land vs. selling it to the state.

Anita,The unfortunate truth is that the Northern Area Task Force (or any Task Force, for that matter) only makes recommendations-there is no force of law involved.  We did create a mixed use scenario, where appropriate, with more commercial growth in an effort to create more revenue positive development.  As an example of our limited impact, the Task Force recommended density on the corner of Perkins and Weaver Dairy Road.  That area is already commercial and there would not be an impact on residential.  However, the property owner chose to build a one story building (especially upsetting because it is below grade land and multi-story would have had less of a visual impact) and nothing could be done about it.The eastern corner of WDR/MLK has had a Walgreen's proposed, but the Task Force suggested that there be other commercial establishments too.  Bridgepoint, at Homestead and WDR Ext. is coming to the Council also.  Del Snow

I attended the first hour of the so-called "community discussion" this evening and was disgusted.  Its purpose was presented as to "to facilitate better communications with the community." However, it was clear to me that this was nothing but a propaganda meeting by IFC for a few purposes: 1) to make community members feel as if they are heard so that they don't attend the public meeting, 2) to hear concerns and legitimate arguments from those opposed so that IFC can prepare their comebacks for the public meeting, and 3)so that IFC can say at the public meeting that it invited all community members to "hear what they had to say" and took their "concerns into mind when making plans" when really they wouldn't even allow us to talk directly to them or pose our questions to someone who had the guts to answer.  That disgusted feeling worsened when I overhead UNC students wearing matching  volunteer shirts behind me chatting about how they were "asked to attend" to "better the numbers" and had "better stay."  Also, the entrance to the "proposed" site was presented as being off of 86 through the church.  The most-used entrance to that same church is actually off of Northern Park Dr., the same road that takes us to the park and aquatic center.  This is also where the bus stop is, not off of 86.  I don't want neighbors who lie, mislead, manipulate, and hide behind hired private facilitators.  I went to the meeting open-minded and curious about IFC's plans, and I've left a strong opponent.  

Attended the 2nd IFC "c0mmunity discussion" and felt exactly as you described.  Its intent is for IFC to phish out the oppositions concerns to prep for their appearance at the Town Council.  I see the 3rd mtg was just more of the same.  What a disappointment and misuse of each citizens time.  Nothing but politics at its worst.

You two obviously know absolutely nothing about the IFC and its history in this community. Your opinions on the community discussion are a farce, a fraud and it's way obvious why the discussion was a waste of your time, as would be any rational discussion of the Community House proposal.

You seem to define opinions as a farce if they do not agree with you.  Plenty of rational thoughtful people who know MUCH about the IFC and its history in this community attended last night and agree with this position.  Their arguments are not a farce--they have just looked at  the same evidence you have and have drawn a different conclusion.  As I suggested to my group last night, it seems as if there is a real double standard here.  When those in favor of the shelter location speak vehemently and with force, it is righteousness.  When those opposed to the location speak vehemently and with force, we are "those people who cannot particpate in rational discussion who know nothing and intentionally want to create fear."  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I want what is best for the whole community and after research and careful thought, and after last night's meeting when 197 white flag nights were coinfirmed, I am convinced that means the shelter needs a better site. 

I am convinced that means the shelter needs a better site.

The problem is that many of us might agree with you if you phrased the problem more accurately. As has been stated ad nauseum, the Community House is not being designed to serve as a shelter. Its primary intended use is as a rehabilitative center, or transitional housing, for those who out of street life. Language matters. Words like "shelter" taint the discussion by perpetuating the misperception that Rosemary Street is going to be picked up and moved wholesale to the new site. While such use of language may be tolerated in advertising and fundraising, it is totally inappropriate for something of such civic importance (IMHO). And just so that you know, I've been arguing this language issue since the public hearing: http://orangepolitics.org/2009/10/helping-homeless-men#comment-9845 

Yes--language matters, which is why I am using "shelter" in a precise and legal way, as set forth in the Chapel Hill Land Use Management Ordinance.  The definition of "shelter" is precisely and legally defined inthe LUMO.  I am not arbitrarily choosing the word. In fact the town council amended the LUMO in January specifically so that the new Comunity House, with 52 people, would fit into the definition of shelter.  (That and to bring the current men's shelter and Homestart into compliance with the maximum allowable capacity.) *I* am not defining Community House as a shelter to create fear; I am instead calling Community House what the LUMO (approved by the town council) has determined it to be: a shelter. 

IFC stated tonight that they will only intake men for white flag nights at the Carrboro soup kitchen.  Then they will transport them after dinner to the proposed shelter location and then will transport them back to Carrboro before breakfast.Q: Is Carrboro going to allow this as part of the conditional use permit?Q: Will the Carrboro CUP be approved before the shelter at Homestead?Q: What if Carrboro does not approve the intake/outtake?Q: Would this provision be in the SUP?  How realistic is it to believe that IFC will really do this for the next 50-60+ years?

In January, I took RDU weather data and IFC policies and came up with an estimate of 206 white flag nights for 2009. I came up with a similar number for the November meeting last year. People said no way it's that many.IFC said tonight that their count of white flag nights last year was 197 for a difference of 9 nights.  Estimates don't get much closer than that. IFC summary:

  • 1688 total overnight stays in 2009 on white flag nights
  • Up to 37 men on a white flag night at Rosemary
  • 177 unique men in 2009

Couple of things to note

  1. This is IFC's current policy.  It could change to be more nights.
  2. The new facility is 16,000 sq ft versus existing 10,800 sq ft, so 37 men as highest at existing could translate to much higher at new facility if IFC changes their mind on max white flag occupancy later on. 
  3. The new facility would be there 50-60+ years and demand will increase over time for white flag night beds.
  1. This is IFC's current policy.  It could change to be more nights.

It could change to be less nights also. In fact, it could change to be NO mights if we can successfully remove the need for Community House to provide emergency housing altogether.

2. The new facility is 16,000 sq ft versus existing 10,800 sq ft, so 37
men as highest at existing could translate to much higher at new
facility if IFC changes their mind on max white flag occupancy later

They could also change their mind and choose to lower the max white flag occupancy later on. The best solution is to remove the emergency housing option from this facility altogether.

3. The new facility would be there 50-60+ years and demand will
increase over time for white flag night beds.  

No one knows what is going to happen in the future. Demand could also decrease. The community has had plenty of opportunity to ask for the uses of this facility to be codified. It will have plenty of other opportunities before all is said and done. If you are worried about what could happen in the future, then work to build in constraints as part of the SUP. Or better yet, ask the IFC to develop a community contract that is part of the SUP.

Tonight was the 3rd and final community discussion. I got there late (again) and by the time I arrived there was standing room only. It was nice to not see so many red shirts as in previous meetings, but during the small group meetings it sounded like there were still a lot of immediate neighbors of the proposed site present. I only heard part of the IFC report on the various other sites that had been considered over the past several years so I don't have any notes to report on that representation. I was surprised at how many sites had been reviewed.The other new information I heard was that the medical and dental services designed for the first floor of the new facility will be available only to residents of Community House and Homestart. I know there were some other services identified for the first floor but I can't find what they are in my notes. There were 12 small groups tonight instead of 10, but the report backs from those groups were very similar to what we've heard at the previous meetings. Lots of concerns about safety, overconcentration of social services, etc. A few new themes emerged though:1.  Several groups reported that local governments need to be more active in the community discussions.2. A couple of groups advocated for local governments to take a leadership role in addressing emergency housing needs. It's clear to many of us that Community House will fill an important gap in services by providing transitional housing, but filling that need means someone else is going to have to step in to provide emergency housing.3.   A couple of groups identified Meadowmont as a good alternative site for Community House.4. We heard that beer bottles had been found along one of the walking paths in the park, so evidently crime is a growing problem (because we all know that only the homeless would ever be so poorly behaved as to leave trash in the park).5. Apparently, there are some residents in that area that cannot get to the bus stop without going through the park. Some catch the bus early and some are dropped off late so having homeless people around the park would make it unsafe to ride the bus.6. To be a good neighbor, the men of Community House could help keep the park mowed and mulched. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

"We heard that beer bottles had been found along one of the walking
paths in the park, so evidently crime is a growing problem (because we
all know that only the homeless would ever be so poorly behaved as to
leave trash in the park)."Based on the occasional transgretions I and my friends might have been involved in during my youth, and the evidence that sometimes appears in our own Chapel Hill neighborhood recreation area,  I would  hasten to bet that the beer bottles were most likely the original property of a more younger,more affluent clientele than the homeless. 

My additions and thoughts to your notes:  1) So the red shirt thing is living out its life.  Many former red shirts came un-redded last night.  They were still there--just not as identifiable.   Probably becasue they were sick of all the red shirt characterizations that abounded last week.  Don't misunderstand the lack of red to mean the lack of opposition to the site.  2) I don't believe anyone really seriously suggested Meadowmont as a better site.  That was primarily tongue in cheek to make a point about equity and I personally commented that the site needs formal public criteria that includes things like distance from residential neighborhoods.  The idea is not to move it from one residential neighborhood to another, but to find a site that fits a series of criteria including spacing from homes, parks, and other shelters. 3) It was shameful that several in the room laughed out loud at the vocal elderly couple, who in my opinion, after that many years on earth have earned their right to comment.  There's a lot of talk about respect, but several people crossed the line in disrespect to this couple.  4) At least one group thought we should have a barbecue for our homeless neighbors to welcome them.  We'll file this away for when this fait d'accompli is finally built.  Because many of us left more conviced than ever that it is a done deal.  5) Many group participants and speakers were students who do not 1) own property in Chapel Hill, 2) have no long-term plans to live here, 3) do not have families who use the schools, daycares, and parks.  Their thoughts on the shelter siting are certainly a valid part of the community mix, but their perspective comes from a different place and most of them have no long-term skin in the game.  6) Many of the things you heard (and write about cavalierly here, such as beer bottles in the park) were brought up by non-native English speakers trying to characterize their sense of growing crime intheir community and were struggling to find words to express this (this happened in my small group--people jumped on one poor woman who could not express herslef well).  We should not take them less seriously because their words are not as polished and they are struggling to make their points.  I don't think anyone really suggested that "only the homeless are so poorly behaved as to leave trash in the park."  That's not a fair thing to suggest was implied.    

Maybe we have exhausted any value from this exchange of views on the IFC Community House proposal. This began with an invitation to a series of meetings to discuss neighbor concerns about the proposal and to hear a few things about what is being proposed. This was not: a part of the approval process for a SUP, a justification for selecting a site, or a scouting mission to detect and exploit opposition to the project.To neighborhood opponents: We get it; you don't want Community House at its proposed location and nothing explained or issue answered will change your mind. In your viewIt's an unfair burden on your neighborhood and your children will not be safe. And you may be suspecting that all these views, these feelings, this worry, and $5 will get you a copy of coffee at the Hotel Siena.There certainly are some interesting ironies here. A few years ago your neighborhoods and the park did not exist. Your social services burdens were all there before you. Gee, if we'd known you were coming we'd have sent them elsewhere. But, I digress.  So far I think you opponents feel dissed, but I hope you understand that derision is a standard price for combat on this blog when you play games with terms and statistics and don't confess that, yes, it's NIMBY. This is all very serious to you and I respect that, and hope each step of the way affords you a chance to speak your views and concerns. We who support the IFC and this project will be there, too. Let's hope it all works out to a win-win.

Roscoe – I get it. You support the new shelter at the Homestead location and don’t like the use of the word shelter. It seems to me that there are no objections that the oppents could bring up that would change your mind. In your view it perfectly fair to place all of the at risk overnight facilities for a 400 square mile county within 1/10th a square mile.Regarding your so called ironies, my homeownership in Parkside predates Project Homestart and the freedom house expansion and I bought in one of the last phases of my development. Your statement is inaccurate and insulting. I have not played games with statistics or term. Rather I have stated statistics and cited them. The same holds true for other people who have posted here in opposition to the proposed location. I have used the term shelter because that is what it LEGALLY is acording to the LUMO of the Town of Chapel Hill and because it will be the County’s only men’s emergency shelter. I know you don’t like that. Perhaps you should take that up with the town council. Since day one I have been advocating for the town to create a public process with public criteria for the siting of a shelter. I want to make the process transparent with a clear vetting process and not the closed door deals that brought about this site. Certianly that would be a win-win. The town did an impact study when they changed the name of Airport Road to MLK Blvd, and yet no such study was done before seleceting this site. Many of us who oppose the proposed location support the IFC financially and with our time. Supporting the IFC and opposing this site are not mututally exclusive positions.

This began
with an invitation to a series of meetings to discuss neighbor concerns
about the proposal and to hear a few things about what is being

 And concerns were shared.

There certainly are some interesting ironies here. A few years ago your neighborhoods and the park did not exist. Your social services burdens were all there before you. Gee, if we'd known you were coming we'd have sent them elsewhere. But, I digress.

This is not folks objecting to existing social services.  The objection is to new at-risk social services being added to an area that already has ALL of them.  The proposed location of a shelter was not zoned "shelter".  There was and is no by-right land use for the proposed location for a shelter with 52 men.  There is no reasonable expectation that a shelter of this size would go there.One would expect that in a self-proclaimed progressive community that fair share of at-risk social facilities would be practiced and that a public process would have been used to make the biggest siting decision the town has seen in a while, particularly given the comprehensive plan's protective language about neighborhoods and the 120 foot proximity to North Forest HIlls.  

So far I think you opponents feel dissed, but I hope you
understand that derision is a standard price for combat on this blog
when you play games with terms and statistics and don't confess that,
yes, it's NIMBY.

I don't believe that the unwarranted bashing in some of the threads is expected or reasonable.  I would rather have seen a constructive discussion of the item being discussed, otherwise there is really no point in having a political blog.As for NIMBY, it appears that you live 4 miles from the closest shelter and 4 miles to the closest drug detox (assuming you live where your registered name matches up with the GIS records).  The closest public housing to you is 2/3 of a mile away and I don't see social services of any kind closer than that (please point them out if you like).The ultimate NIMBY is someone who advocates for all of the at risk social services to go in someone else's back yard, especially if ALL the at risk social services are going in that someone else's back yard.  



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.