Foregone conclusion

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Chris Moran, the executive director of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services, sure make it sound as if the vote has already been cast on the new shelter planned for the corner of Homestead Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Through the public hearings on the issue as well as zoning questions, Kleinschmidt has gone out of his way to remind folks that no decision has been made and that the hearings were for information only.

And then Hizzoner says at a meeting last week of the Community Leadership Collaboration that the shelter is taking shape off Homestead. And Moran was crowing about just how many men the shelter will be able to cram into the new facility. Well, that all seems a bit disingenuous. Nobody has passed a proposal yet. The IFC has not submitted plans yet. So why go out of your way to refer to it as if it had already been approved?

The IFC plans to hold community meetings in the coming weeks and is to file the permit application in the spring. How many of those community meetings are being held in the very neighborhood directly affected by the plans? Or are the meetings just a crude PR campaign to get support for the plans, kind of a way of getting everybody on board with this thing because “if it’s built off Homestead Road then it won’t go in my neighborhood.”

Seems as if the council has become very adept at cramming something down residents’ throats and then going out of its way to remind them of what they’ve been made to swallow. Either that or Mayor K has the sensitivity of Genghis Khan on bad day. At the very least, his appearance at the collaboration gathering is the clumsiest PR move the mayor’s office has ever tossed out at its residents. You’d think he could at least maintain the illusion of impartiality.
–Don Evans

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  1. Fred Black

     /  March 1, 2010

    Don, I was at the meeting Friday and your take from a media report and what I heard are not the same. Nobody made it out to be a done deal. Chris said over and over that he was discussing the board’s plans and that nothing has been presented or approved. He also indicated that the discussions were with surrounding neighbors – how did the reporter miss that big point? Could it be because he arrived late in the discussion?

    The numbers discussed were in the context of helping people understand that the shelter we now have was not being relocated if the plan was approved, but the new location was an entirely different concept for the IFC.

    I think you really got this all wrong and have added to the profound misunderstandings about this project. I’m puzzled as to how on the one hand you criticize the work of the local media and then on the other you accept without question everything written about this meeting without question. Talk to some others who were there.

  2. Runner

     /  March 1, 2010

    I am concerned about the way the town officals and th IFC leadership have been incrementily divulging their plans for moving the homeless shelter.

    At first, the IFC leadership was touting the development of a new type of homeless shelter on the Homestead Road site. They were calling it 52 member facility that would house only approved men who qualified for the “Homestart” program.

    Now, the IFC leadership is saying that the facility will not only house the 52 member “Homestart” men, but also house the “drop-in” homeless that the current downtown facility accomodates. So, when you couple the Homestart program with the homeless shelter, you get a facility housing up to 122 men on a qualifying night.

    Why can’t the leaders of the IFC and the Town just come out and say that they are not only moving the current 70 plus member homeless shelter, but adding another 52 bed facility in the new site.

  3. Bill

     /  March 1, 2010

    It comes as no suprise to me that King Mark has already made up the town’s mind.

  4. Terri Buckner

     /  March 1, 2010

    “And Moran was crowing about just how many men the shelter will be able to cram into the new facility. ” You can’t possibly mean Chris Moran with that statement. Chris has never “crowed” about anything, much less cramming more people into any facility.

    Thanks to Fred Black for clearing up what I found to be a very confusing post.

  5. Runner

     /  March 1, 2010

    Fred and Terri,

    Please explain this quote taken from Sunday’s CHN:

    The current shelter has 30 beds, and Moran said on the coldest nights this winter, it has housed an additional 53 men on the floors. The future shelter will have 52 beds and room for as many as 70 men needing emergency shelter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees or climb above 100.

    “I suppose I could put 50, 60, 70 people on the floor, but that’s not my intention,” Moran said. “We’ll have the ability to bring people in when they’re in harm’s way.”

    Moran hopes the new facility will provide emergency shelter only until the community creates another shelter for that purpose. But there are no such plans now.

    To me, this sounds like the new shelter will house up to 122 people on qualifying nights.

  6. Fred Black

     /  March 1, 2010

    You use the words “house” and “will” to mean something specific to you. Why don’t you contact Chris and talk with him about the context of the answer to the question.

  7. Runner

     /  March 1, 2010


    The context of Chris’ statement is simple. He finally came out and said that the new shelter will house the 52 members of the Homestart program and, since there will be no other shelter in Orange County when the current one closes, this same facility will also house up to another 7o men on “white flag” nights.

    Combine that with the comment in one of the recent Town Council meetings that, with all the rules surrounding the definition of a white flag night, there can be about 200 white flag nights a year (There were as many in 2009) and you get a 122 man homeless shelter on Homestead Rd.

  8. Terri Buckner

     /  March 1, 2010


    From what you’ve quoted, does it sound to you like Chris is ‘crowing’? I take that word (crowing) to mean that he is pleased to be pulling something off on the community. To me, it is a total mis-characterization. It’s inflammatory and unfair to a good man.

    The fact is that IFC has a positive vision for helping men get off the street. But they have to deal with the realities of more need than they can serve at this time. Does that mean that they should ignore what they consider to be best practice and cave in to reality? I sincerely hope not. To me, it means that the community needs to help IFC figure out how to implement best practice and still address the realities of those men who aren’t ready to get off the streets–the guys who constitute the overload to the system.

    Know anywhere a second facility can go to cover the overload?

  9. Bill

     /  March 2, 2010

    Bragging, crowing, call it what you want but I agree with Runner.