Posts Tagged ‘Family Dollar Building 200 E. Main St.’

Ouch!

September 25, 2020

            The truth hurts. 9-22-20 Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlines Winter’s coming: Newark area homeless again without enough shelters. No, not winter, a not necessarily hurtful truth for some people (though maybe not those without shelter). But that another year dawns where, once again, there will be a scramble to “respond” to the truth of fellow citizens living with inadequate means to deal with what winter dishes out. Mallett’s story centers on the still defunct Family Dollar building (200 E. Main St.), purchased by the Evans Foundation and earmarked, at the time of purchase, to become a low barrier shelter for those with none. But first a round of studies with tax payer paid outside consultants to insure that it is done right (“Mayor Jeff Hall said although speed is important in opening a shelter, it’s most important to do it right.”). Along with the building purchase in 2019, Luken Solutions was contracted “to study the feasibility of operating a low barrier shelter.” There must have been an opt out clause in the agreement, as a year later Luken Solutions chose to exercise it (so much for Mayor Hall’s “speed is important”). Mallett quotes Trisha Pound, a member of the Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, who addressed the opt out by Sally Luken: ““The letter Sally wrote to us said she believed our community doesn’t want a low-barrier shelter. As someone that is a social worker in the community and knows how much we really need it, it’s alarming to me that a professional would say that they feel we don’t need a shelter or don’t want a shelter.”” (Ouch! The cat just clawed its way out of the bag. Remember Mayor Jeff Hall’s insight that he is all for a homeless shelter, as long as it is outside the city limits?). Another stakeholder, that vociferously embraced the Family Dollar building as a solution to those detracting from the renovation miracle of downtown Newark (Mallett pithily understates this “In the summer of 2018, the homeless problem gained attention when homeless persons were seen sleeping on benches around the Courthouse Square.”), tried to put a positive spin on Luken’s abdication: “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said someone needs to continue the work of Luken Solutions. “A number of things were accomplished by Sally and her work, not the least of which was to confirm that Licking County does have a need for an additional emergency shelter,” DeLawder said. “She did, in fact, confirm the need. We need beds. It’s as simple as that.”” Meanwhile, renovation work is going gang busters on Newark Development Partners’ downtown Arcade, also purchased in 2019. “Dan DeLawder, chairman of NDP, said, “We can’t pull this project off without tax credits. I don’t know how to do it, anyway. From a pure commercial perspective, tax credits will make this a possibility. We’re still in the early stages of development consideration. It’s just a massive project. It’s a very comprehensive effort underway to evaluate the facility and it is still too early to say a cost and what form or fashion it will be done.”” (Mallett again, 6-29-20 Arcade renovation project could cost $15 million, needs tax credits). Maybe declaring the Family Dollar building a historic landmark would get tax credits to build a low barrier shelter? Analysis finds the painful truth of “Winters coming: Newark area homeless…” to be the significant difference between, not only language but also the experienced actuality of, “dealing with homelessness” and helping people who are actually without housing, between quickly agreed upon “needs” and actual, acted upon wants (for an Arcade, Yes. For a low barrier shelter downtown, No!).