I have read over 100 emails detailing concerns around moving the IFC’s Men’s Shelter to Homestead Rd. Not all emails have been positive, many have very good questions that need to be laid to rest. I’m working on another post that condenses and highlights those specific neighborhood concerns.
Here’s a letter in support of the facility from Peggy Yonuschot:
Dear Mayor Foy and Members of the Town Council:
I write in support of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) with respect to the proposed location of the menâ€™s residential facility at 1315 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. I also write in response to some of the fear and hateful rhetoric about people who are homeless that has been expressed by some of my neighbors to the Town Council as well as posted around my neighborhood at mailbox locations and the Tot Lot.
My home is in the Vineyard Square neighborhood, adjacent to Homestead Park. I live within walking distance to Project Homestart (the IFC facility for women and children who are homeless), Freedom House Recovery Center and the Seymour Senior Center as well as Homestead Park playground, playing fields and aquatic center. I have a young son and we walk to swim lessons, soccer practice and the swingset several times a week. I have experienced no adverse or negative impact as a result of living in close vicinity to any of the human services providers operating nearby. I do not view the proposed location of the menâ€™s residential facility as a threat to my familyâ€™s safety.
The shelter has to go somewhere. It is my understanding that the proposed location was chosen after an extensive search by Town of Chapel Hill staff and in consult with myriad community partners. If IFC, their community partners and other entities with the expertise and experience needed to work effectively with people who are homeless believe that this is the best possible location for this facility in our town, then we should support them.
I have every confidence that the IFC will continue to work with community partners and surrounding neighborhoods to mitigate any potential negative impact. I have every confidence that the Chapel Hill Police Department will continue to enforce existing town ordinances and other regulations that address some of the real concerns that have been expressed about locating the shelter near a park. It is my hope that you will not allow misunderstanding and fear to derail the presence of a well-managed shelter in Chapel Hill, which is a benefit to the entire community as well as individuals who are homeless.
The individuals who are contacting you to express fear and hateful rhetoric do not speak for me or my family or all of our neighbors. I invite my neighbors who are gathering to speak against the IFC and the proposed site of the menâ€™s residential facility to consider how they might feel if it were their son, brother or father who was without resource and in need of shelter. I believe that it is by grace that it is not me or my loved one currently in need. I am grateful to the IFC for providing an absolutely critical array of services in offer of assistance to those families and individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.