[Hpn] Homeless motel?

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 10 Aug 2006 08:54:48 -0400


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      Homeless motel?



      By JEFF ADELSON

      Sun staff writer
     August 10.2006

       =20



    =20
      Gainesville city commissioners are sharply divided on an Alachua =
County Housing Authority proposal to provide permanent housing to some =
homeless residents, including those who cause the most problems for law =
enforcement.

      While some commissioners support the project, which could be =
located at the Sunshine Inn on NW 13th Street near NW 42nd Terrace, =
others have said it could jeopardize their support for a range of =
proposals designed to help the homeless.

      Within the past week, some commissioners have called for public =
meetings on the topic even as Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan submitted a letter =
supporting a request by the housing authority for $750,000 in state =
assistance for the program.

      "Research has shown that until they get into some sort of =
stabilized situation it's very difficult to deal with other issues," =
Hanrahan said this week.

      After some residents bombarded commissioners and the housing =
authority with calls, officials said a final decision on the location =
has not been made and "any motel" could be a good location. Due to the =
backlash, Alachua County Housing Authority Executive Director Gail =
Monahan said the future of the whole project could be shaky.

      "Quite frankly, I don't care where it is," Monahan said. "If =
someone will let it happen, I'm there."

      The housing authority's proposal, which was not discussed with the =
City Commission, has angered nearby residents and other commissioners. =
In response, some commissioners say they will fight the project and =
could withdraw support from a 10-year plan to end homelessness in =
Alachua County.

      "That kind of bureaucratic arrogance could absolutely result in =
the city withdrawing its support," said Commissioner Ed Braddy, who has =
called for an Aug. 22 public meeting on the issue.

      The Alachua County Housing Authority manages housing programs for =
state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and =
Urban Development, and is managed by a five-member board of directors =
independent of the Alachua County or Gainesville city commissions.

      The motel would be the first step in a "housing first" model =
championed by the housing authority and officials involved in =
implementing a countywide 10-year plan to end homelessness. The =
authority would provide $1.2 million for the project.

      As part of this strategy, the 40-room motel would serve as housing =
for 10 of the most "problematic" homeless residents as well as homeless =
women who were the victims of domestic violence or army veterans and =
other homeless people.

      This strategy, which has been pushed by the Bush Administration's =
Interagency Council on Homelessness, is designed to reduce the burden of =
disruptive homeless residents on law enforcement, medical services and =
the general community.

      The housing authority is still "massaging" the concept and could =
place more restrictions and responsibilities on residents than a =
proposal outlined by the organization's Homeless Services Director Jon =
DeCarmine last month, Monahan said.

      Monahan said that while the rules at the complex would be more =
forgiving than at other shelters, residents would only be allowed to =
stay there if they were not disruptive, followed guidelines and worked =
to get into a more stable situation.

      Monitoring of residents at the facility was listed as a =
requirement in Hanrahan's letter of support.

      But the proposed location, which is near an Alachua County =
elementary school and a day-care center, has angered some residents, who =
said it is incompatible with nearby neighborhoods.

      Commissioner Rick Bryant said the project also could harm =
redevelopment along NW 13th Street.

      "To me it seems like they're trying to undo a decade's worth of =
hard work," Bryant said.

      Bryant and Braddy questioned the decision to house "chronically =
homeless" residents in the area, suggesting that homeless families might =
be a more palatable demographic.

      The concept, however, would help meet the needs of a group of =
homeless who do not have other services of this type available, Hanrahan =
said.

      The city's two top planning officials said this week it is unclear =
what, if any, City Commission approvals or public meetings would be =
required for the motel to be converted into the housing facility =
envisioned by the housing authority.

      The housing authority, which helps run about 34 rooms on SW 13th =
Street that are similar to the planned complex, usually tries to buy =
properties that would not require approval from local government, =
Monahan said.

      Public pressure over these projects could persuade commissioners =
to reject them, sometimes due to fears that exaggerate their impact, she =
said.

      "I'm not sure I'm an advocate that everything has to have public =
input," Monahan said.

      Proponents of the proposal also have suggested the location might =
not be ideal. Hanrahan said she supported adding more homeless services =
in the downtown area, where there is an expectation of a certain amount =
of homelessness, rather than moving them into other areas of the city.

      "I have a great deal of concern and commitment to making sure we =
aren't transporting a problem from one area of the community to =
another," Hanrahan said.

      Jeff Adelson can be reached at 374-5095 or adelsoj@gvillesun.com.=20



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      <DIV class=3Dheadline_byline>
      <P class=3Dheadline>Homeless motel?</P><BR>
      <P class=3Dbyline><B>By JEFF ADELSON</B></P>
      <P class=3Dbyline>Sun staff writer</P></DIV></TD><!-- End Headline =
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      <P style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: bold">August 10.2006</P>
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      <P><A=20
      =
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LOCAL/208100339/1078/news&amp;template=3Dprintart"></A></P>
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      <DIV><A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DGainesville%2C_Florida">Gainesville</A>=20
      city commissioners are sharply divided on an <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County Housing Authority proposal to provide permanent housing to =
some=20
      homeless residents, including those who cause the most problems =
for law=20
      enforcement.<BR><BR>While some commissioners support the project, =
which=20
      could be located at the Sunshine Inn on NW 13th Street near NW =
42nd=20
      Terrace, others have said it could jeopardize their support for a =
range of=20
      proposals designed to help the homeless.<BR><BR>Within the past =
week, some=20
      commissioners have called for public meetings on the topic even as =
Mayor=20
      Pegeen Hanrahan submitted a letter supporting a request by the =
housing=20
      authority for $750,000 in state assistance for the=20
      program.<BR><BR>"Research has shown that until they get into some =
sort of=20
      stabilized situation it's very difficult to deal with other =
issues,"=20
      Hanrahan said this week.<BR><BR>After some residents bombarded=20
      commissioners and the housing authority with calls, officials said =
a final=20
      decision on the location has not been made and "any motel" could =
be a good=20
      location. Due to the backlash, <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County Housing Authority Executive Director Gail Monahan said the =
future=20
      of the whole project could be shaky.<BR><BR>"Quite frankly, I =
don't care=20
      where it is," Monahan said. "If someone will let it happen, I'm=20
      there."<BR><BR>The housing authority's proposal, which was not =
discussed=20
      with the City Commission, has angered nearby residents and other=20
      commissioners. In response, some commissioners say they will fight =
the=20
      project and could withdraw support from a 10-year plan to end =
homelessness=20
      in <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County.<BR><BR>"That kind of bureaucratic arrogance could =
absolutely=20
      result in the city withdrawing its support," said Commissioner Ed =
Braddy,=20
      who has called for an Aug. 22 public meeting on the =
issue.<BR><BR>The <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County Housing Authority manages housing programs for state and =
federal=20
      agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban =
Development,=20
      and is managed by a five-member board of directors independent of =
the <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County or <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DGainesville%2C_Florida">Gainesville</A>=20
      city commissions.<BR><BR>The motel would be the first step in a =
"housing=20
      first" model championed by the housing authority and officials =
involved in=20
      implementing a countywide 10-year plan to end homelessness. The =
authority=20
      would provide $1.2 million for the project.<BR><BR>As part of this =

      strategy, the 40-room motel would serve as housing for 10 of the =
most=20
      "problematic" homeless residents as well as homeless women who =
were the=20
      victims of domestic violence or army veterans and other homeless=20
      people.<BR><BR>This strategy, which has been pushed by the Bush=20
      Administration's Interagency Council on Homelessness, is designed =
to=20
      reduce the burden of disruptive homeless residents on law =
enforcement,=20
      medical services and the general community.<BR><BR>The housing =
authority=20
      is still "massaging" the concept and could place more restrictions =
and=20
      responsibilities on residents than a proposal outlined by the=20
      organization's Homeless Services Director Jon DeCarmine last =
month,=20
      Monahan said.<BR><BR>Monahan said that while the rules at the =
complex=20
      would be more forgiving than at other shelters, residents would =
only be=20
      allowed to stay there if they were not disruptive, followed =
guidelines and=20
      worked to get into a more stable situation.<BR><BR>Monitoring of =
residents=20
      at the facility was listed as a requirement in Hanrahan's letter =
of=20
      support.<BR><BR>But the proposed location, which is near an <A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?template=3Dwiki&=
amp;text=3DAlachua%2C_Florida">Alachua</A>=20
      County elementary school and a day-care center, has angered some=20
      residents, who said it is incompatible with nearby=20
      neighborhoods.<BR><BR>Commissioner Rick Bryant said the project =
also could=20
      harm redevelopment along NW 13th Street.<BR><BR>"To me it seems =
like=20
      they're trying to undo a decade's worth of hard work," Bryant=20
      said.<BR><BR>Bryant and Braddy questioned the decision to house=20
      "chronically homeless" residents in the area, suggesting that =
homeless=20
      families might be a more palatable demographic.<BR><BR>The =
concept,=20
      however, would help meet the needs of a group of homeless who do =
not have=20
      other services of this type available, Hanrahan said.<BR><BR>The =
city's=20
      two top planning officials said this week it is unclear what, if =
any, City=20
      Commission approvals or public meetings would be required for the =
motel to=20
      be converted into the housing facility envisioned by the housing=20
      authority.<BR><BR>The housing authority, which helps run about 34 =
rooms on=20
      SW 13th Street that are similar to the planned complex, usually =
tries to=20
      buy properties that would not require approval from local =
government,=20
      Monahan said.<BR><BR>Public pressure over these projects could =
persuade=20
      commissioners to reject them, sometimes due to fears that =
exaggerate their=20
      impact, she said.<BR><BR>"I'm not sure I'm an advocate that =
everything has=20
      to have public input," Monahan said.<BR><BR>Proponents of the =
proposal=20
      also have suggested the location might not be ideal. Hanrahan said =
she=20
      supported adding more homeless services in the downtown area, =
where there=20
      is an expectation of a certain amount of homelessness, rather than =
moving=20
      them into other areas of the city.<BR><BR>"I have a great deal of =
concern=20
      and commitment to making sure we aren't transporting a problem =
from one=20
      area of the community to another," Hanrahan said.<BR><BR><EM>Jeff =
Adelson=20
      can be reached at 374-5095 or=20
  =
adelsoj@gvillesun.com.</EM></DIV></DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV></=
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