Shelter doesn’t belong near children’s facilities

First Posted: 10/18/2013

To the Editor,

The fairy-tale version of the planned homeless shelter is Lumberton’s estimated 85 homeless people sitting inside the shiny new building all day working on their job skills.

In reality, our homeless people are no different than elsewhere. A large percent of the homeless suffer from mental illnesses like schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance-abuse disorders. Others are homeless because they don’t qualify for public housing because they are violent felons, sex-offenders, or substance abusers.

While we need to have compassion for all homeless people, that compassion should not blind us to the danger of placing this new shelter directly adjacent to the Partnership for Children, the Exploration Station, and the public library. These facilities are visited by approximately 100 children per day. This is an accident waiting to happen.

Google “homeless attacks child” if you have any doubt. Background checks are planned only for the residents of the shelter, but what about those who come for the daily free meal, or are rejected from the shelter? The homeless shelter can be built almost anywhere.

Don’t put our children at risk by building it within 300 feet of facilities that already serve our children. Most cities wouldn’t allow this, and this Wednesday, our City Council should reject it for the safety of our children.

Jim Parker