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.



One of the next steps that has already been taken was one of the vocal opponents posting here made a public records request to obtain the names and email addresses of everyone on UNC's neighborhood mailing list (from all over town/county). Yet another example of something that is technically right or permissible but ethically questionable. How will that data be manipulated to support the cause?Community House is designed as a rehabilitative center but technically it's a shelter and since shelter is more inflammatory, that's the word to use. It's got room for 17 temporary cots but that number could increase so we'll keep hammering away at that possibility. The university donated the land so there must have been a backroom deal. The opponents keep claiming there has been no discussion, that IFC's efforts have been only window dressing for a done deal. But from what I've seen here and at the public meetings, there are several opponents who have no intention of participating in a discussion. For them, this was a war to be won the minute the site was announced. All's fair, right?

I believe it is ethically questionable to place a men’s homeless shelter next a park, daycares, neighborhoods, student apartments, and the County’s only other at risk overnight facilities.    Community House is a shelter.  The presentation that the IFC gave to the Town Council on 10/19/09 not only calls it a shelter, but says that 20 of the 52 beds will be used for emergency shelter.  On white flag nights (197 in 2009 according to IFC) there will be an additional 17 emergency cots made available.  This is a total of 37 emergency beds and only 32 transitional beds.  In my opinion, this makes the primary function of the facility a shelter 54% (197/365) of the year.  http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/agendas/2009/10/19/1b/additional%20...    You ask why we think it is a done deal.  The time line that the IFC presented to the town council at the October 19th meeting calls for:

  • Site plan, building schematic and regulatory reviews to be completed in May 2010
  • Predevelopment construction document reviews to be completed by October 2010
  • Construction to begin in December 2010

  Given the IFC’s proposed timeline, it takes no great leap to conclude that this was already a done deal. You say that you have seen no intention of participating in a discussion from opponents.  Why is it that when I post my opinion it is not participating in a discussion, and when you post yours it is?  That sounds like a double standard to me.    

In the normal course of business, anyone proposing to finance and build a facility and get regulatory approval is going to project a timeline. I would not assume that just because IFC proposed a favorable timeline means it was a done deal. 

Someone mentioned having it next to the police station and then someone said that that stigmatizes it.  I think that's getting it backwards.  It's already stigmatized.  If you want to minimize the stigmatization I can't think of a better location than next to a police station.

I am saying this, because it appears that Chris Moran wants a pretty new building and doesn't seem to understand the affect of active drug users and alcoholics "crashing on the floor" of a program that is trying to help those who want help.Not all Homeless have drug and alcohol problems, but the ones I know do and they seem pretty representative.Putting an Emergency Shelter next to a Park (and in spite of the PR Spin - which is just pathetic to watch), it is next to a Park is not done anywhere. It's just not a good place for that.The Emergency Shelter needs to be near the Kitchen in Carrboro. There is a huge difference between people who have said, "I want to change my life" versus those who have said "F--k it. I am going to die anyway."Lumping them all together 200 nights a year isn't going to help them or the town. If our Mayor, whom I do respect as a very reasonable, thoughtful person (although I think the Cam Hill thing was reprehensible), wants to change the debate, announce a location for the Men's Emergency Shelter that is downtown near the kitchen. If you put the Emergency Homeless Shelter next to the park and within walking distance of Chapel Hill High, Seawell Elem and Smith School as well as two Churches with Daycare facilities and Subsidized Housing, it seems like you are creating a massive potential problem. 

Steve, I understand that you don't want the shelter in your neighborhood. Fine. But to even insinuate that Chris Moran - probably the one single person who has done the most for the poorest people in our community in the past decade - doesn't care about homeless people is so shocking as to be ridiculous! It's also quite tacky in my opinion.You are entitled to your opinions, but this one make me feel like maybe you don't know the social, political, or economic landscape of this community very well. 


Tacky?  You mean like suggesting that Mark Peters is unethically out to get everyone and harrass them?

IFC and the UNC School of Social Work have collaborated to create a map of all social services within Chapel Hill and Carrboro: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=1075729008624767...

That's great, Terri! Thanks for sharing the map. 

Kevin Wolff shows his colors:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2564106025658&set=a.2564105985657.2144874.1344351220&type=1&theaterYou may have to be logged in to Facebook to see the content.  Maybe someone more web savvy than me can make the letter available more directly? 

For future reference, please make a screenshot!http://take-a-screenshot.org/

Just emailed it to you, Ruby (lotusmedia).  Can you post it here?

Here you go:

Sadly, I suppose there will be those for whom this message resonates.

Thanks for the skill share.  I'll try it next time!



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