Richmond community discusses homeless shelter in Manchester

Richmond community discusses homeless shelter in Manchester

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Neighbors in Richmond sound off about the possibility of a homeless shelter moving to the Manchester area.

A meeting at Bainbridge Street Baptist Wednesday night gave neighbors and the charity behind the shelter a chance to voice concerns. Some neighbors don't want the shelter in their area.

Where to put the city's homeless...that's the question on the minds of neighbors as Commonwealth Catholic Charities plans to make their new home in the heart of Richmond's Manchester area.

Jay Brown works with the charity and says it's current location at the public safety building just doesn't work. He says the Community Bainbridge Baptist Church is the best location, because it can house all their services, including the overflow shelter in the winter.

Neighbors argue the Manchester area lacks the infrastructure Commonwealth Catholic Charities needs. Some neighbors also worry about the value of their homes and community, when it is perceived as a neighborhood for the homeless.

Others, like Robert Winfree, say while he's neither for nor against the idea of the shelter, the community needs to find a way to coexist with those in need.

"Let's deal with the problem. If we are to coexist in the community, then we need to find ways that we can measure and coagulate and live together in harmonious discourse," said Winfree.

The church building is not currently zoned for a homeless shelter, and the charity will need to apply for a special use permit before any plans can be made to move the shelter.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities says it looked at more than 30 locations before settling on Bainbridge Baptist.

Until the special use permit is filed, they say they will continue to talk to neighbors.

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