Friday, August 05, 2005

Update on West Philly debate

As mentioned here yesterday, there's a bit of a debate in W.Philly over the possible creation of a homeless shelter in an abandoned nursing home building. Today I know quite a bit more, after both an article in the Inquirer about the dispute and a summary of last night's community meeting by Ray Murphy. It turns out that the shelter used to exist (in a smaller form) only two blocks away, until a lightening strike ruined the space, and that the planners are taking elaborate pains to make the shelter a good neighbor and an asset to the community, including limiting residents to families (no single men), hiring staff locally, and making computer and daycare facilities open to neighborhood use. That's pretty much stacked up against abstract fears of crime risks and housing value impact. (Ironically, the need for shelters has gone up in part because of homelessness caused by rising housing costs.) I hope that they can work something out -- both for this project, and as an augur for future citywide handling of the conflicts between the succesful and the down-and-out.


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