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Homeless advocates fighting for property

WILMINGTON -- It's back to the drawing board for Wilmington City Council. In May Council voted to give federally-owned land behind Legion Stadium to Elderhaus, Girls Incorporated and Parks and Recreation. But advocates for the homeless are fighting to get the property for affordable housing. The Rhodes Army Reserve Center will be decommissioned in 2011. Many agencies could use its valuable property. But the federal government has to sign off on who gets it. The Rhodes Military Reserve Center in Wilmington will eventually serve a new purpose other than training troops. After the year 2011 it could become a residence for some of Wilmington's homeless population. Wilmington Interfaith Executive Director Steven Spain said, "The Rhodes Center is important because we need housing so much, we don't need more shelters, we have enough shelters we want people to get out of the shelters and more permanent housing." Local homeless advocates submitted a proposal to Wilmington's city council to turn the military property into a place for disabled residents and low-income families. But City Council turned down the idea and recommended turning the site into a senior center and a place to mentor at-risk teens. City Council Committee Chair Jason Thompson said, "We have plenty of other services for the homeless in our community and some of the eldercare type things we didn't have as much, and Girls Incorporated needed a new space. You've got to balance the needs throughout the community and unfortunately that didn't come to the top." But the federal government notified city officials about their disapproval of the plan and wants the city to reconsider housing for the homeless. It's estimated on any given night around 500 people don't have permanent shelter in Wilmington. "There are many ways that shelter could be used but the opportunity that homeless providers saw is to get some housing that is desperately needed." Councilwoman Laura Padgett says the city already has a 10-year plan to end homelessness, which she doesn't believe the federal government took into consideration when making its decision. Padgett believes a senior care center would be better for the community.

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You people make me sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I bet not a single one of you have ever been to the Salvation Army or the good shepherd!! All those homeless people are not all druggies and scum of the earth. Have you ever even had a conversation with them, many are in that situation because of illness, abuse and mental illness, did you hear that illness, just like you getting cancer. Its an illness. They do not choose to be that way. Yes we do need another homeless shelter, we nedd my homeless shelter. Why dont you go out at night and give them food, or a blanket, or socks, a jacket. If you have never walked in their shoes then dont knock them!!!!!!!!

You know, when it comes down

You know, when it comes down to it everyone is just a paycheck away from being in the same position. You know, I have worked hard all my life, bought a home- 4 bdrms, 2 garages and an inground pool. I made 24.00 hr life was great and so was my credit! Now with the economy the way it is-- I have had to foreclose on my home, lost my job draw out my retirement [Thank God I had that!!!] and see the other side of the picture. I have for the first time had to get on food stamps in order for my family to eat [which took 1 1/2 mos to get!] and get on medicaid. I NEVER thought I would have to do that!!! Let me tell you-- I am not an illegal, druggie or minority and it is very hard to find a decent job and believe me I am looking ALL the time--I dont like taking handouts--never had too, but thank God there are things in place to help when things get rough. No one WANTS OR CHOOSES to be in this situation. But the one thing I have learned during this experience, is that homeless man or woman standing on the street begging for food could very well be you or me. We shouldnt judge because we do not know the circumstances which put them there. And who knows the unthinkable may one day happen to you.

Are you kidding?

From what I have seen of the residents who live near this property, I am amazed that they somehow think they are any better than our homeless brothers and sisters. Why don't you try picking up the budweisers from your yards, and getting rid of the cars on blocks before passing judgment on anyone else. FYI, this is not being proposed to be a homeless shelter -- get your facts straight! I sincerely hope the feds are successful, and force the city to do the right thing!

Why is it up to the city to do.....

...."the right thing?" Why don't the homeless people "do the right thing", and start managing their own lives? Why do the taxpayers consistently have to bail out the incompetent and lazy? Why can't you get YOUR brothers and sisters to recognize the importance of being responsible and self-reliant? Could it be because they're all drunks, druggies, and/or mental cases? Hmmmmm?

Re: Are you kidding?

You obviously don't care because you don't live in this area. Most the beer cans you see are from the homeless walkers these areas get as well as those that cut through our neighborhood tossing their trash out the window. A majority of actual "home owners" do respect their neighborhood. You can't control the crackhead slumlords that rent their homes out to anyone. Nobody here is saying they're better than the homeless. I'm sure we'd all love to help them out...the problem is that this "transitional housing" that they're proposing will sound good on paper and then a month or two later it'll be poorly matter what they say. If the city worked with these groups to make sure they maintain the standards they claim they will...then we'd probably be OK with it. The problem is that we know they aren't going to. They claim they wont allow drugs or alcohol in this area...yeah right. I'd love to see them checking the grocery bags every time someone enters to make sure that doesn't happen. Colleges say that all the time with their dorms and where do most collage kids get their dorm. With the money they'd need to convert this place into the few condos that it'll hold (as well as the trailers they want to add) take that money and buy some of the properties that aren't selling closer to downtown and the drypond area and set up housing there. You're closer to grocery stores, closer to downtown, closer to public transportation. How is transitional housing for the number that this will hold really put a dent in the 500+ rumored homeless in the city. If there really was that big of a problem then the city shouldn't have sold Soloman Towers and should just fix up Nesbitt Court. That place will hold more than this place will. We see how well that area was kept up. We're all just afraid it's going to just turn into another Dove Meadows...and we don't need that.

How many more are needed

Soon Wilmington will no longer be known for it's historical buildings and history, it's beautiful Lake and Riverwalk, or the movie industry...but for it's large number of Public Housing and Homeless Shelters. Let's put one on every corner just like gas stations. Aren't the large condo units on the north side by the new police station being used to house the homeless? Why not just convert Leland to Homelessland while property over there is still cheap.

Workforce Housing

I completely agree that putting a shelter or low-income housing along the lake is a terrible idea, especially with the designation of our new Scenic Byway that the city has worked so hard to achieve. On the other hand homelessness is a serious issue in this area that needs to be addressed. I applaud the city's 10 year plan because something has to be done. What this area really needs though is more workforce housing. That is affordable housing for working families that happen to make slightly less than the median income. And this workforce housing does not mean its going to troubled families that are abusing the system, but hard working police, teachers, and others that really don't make a lot of money and aren't able to afford a $250,000 house in Wilmington. These people provide many benefits to our city and they shouldn't have to commute from out of the county to live in town. Also people need to realize that the days of providing low-income housing that is grouped all together is extremely outdated. We need mixed income housing that seamlessly blends in with surrounding areas, due to adequate design and proper planning.

That's pure rhetoric

Homelessness is NOT a serious problem in this area. Take the time to research the total number of homeless in the area, then compare it as a percentage of the area's population. (It's about .3%, according to the recent survey.) BTW, mixed income housing rapidly becomes de facto housing for the poor. The simple fact is that no one in their right mind is going to pay $400k for a house right down the street from a low-rent apartment building. People live in neighborhoods they can afford. Forced economic integration won't work. It simply increases affluent flight away from the latest buzzword in social engineering.


Just what we need...another homeless shelter. The issue is that these individuals have come to rely on the system so they cannot do for themselves. The systems SHOULDN'T keep dishing out help. I'm sorry if that is mean...but it's all getting ridiculous. I think we just found out where a drug rehab slipped in under the radar...there are strange happenings at the church on Gordon Road where cars come in late at night and are all gone in the morning...and the word HORIZONS is on the church announcement board out front....sorry....ITS GOTTA GO! Just what we need...a bunch of DRUGGIES living around families that work for a living...


Everyone that is homeless is not a druggie, lazy crap of a person! The way the economy is and the way the housing market is especially in this area, you can't but have homeless people. There are many people that have lost jobs and have families to take care of and have simply hit hard times. The city wanting to provide affordable housing and homeless shelters is comendable and should be applauded. The prices here in Wilmington are ridiculous for NO REASON whatsoever. When the beaches become comparable to Florida's or California's beaches then the prices will make sense. Having a place for people to live and stay until they get back on their feet is better than having them in your so called precious streets or your backyard. The city is giving help to the 80% of homeless people that need it. Think folks...think! Don't ignore the problem, it will not go away...instead fight the issue head on.


70% of the chronic homeless ARE addicts, mentally ill, or both. You sob-sisters must think we're stupid and easily fooled. You think we can't SEE them drunk, urinating in doorways, panhandling to buy a bottle, or wandering around having a great conversation with themselves. Real estate prices are inconsequential to a guy who only wants to bed down with a bottle of Nighttrain Express.

homeless in NC for 3 yrs

I AM ONE OF THE HOMELESS~AND HAVE BEEN FOR OVER 3 YRS. I DO NOT DO DRUGS; I DO NOT DRINK;AND I AM NOT MENTALLY UNSTABLE-- I ONCE WAS A HOMEOWNER; GIRL SCOUT LEADER(plus cookie mom & camp mother)and cub scout leader;COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER;AND ACTIVE ON SCHOOL P.T.O.'S PLUS DID MANY ACTIVITIES WITH MY FAMILY-- I HAVE A T.B.I.(TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY)THAT LEFT ME WITH GRANDMAL SEIZURES(FOR 29 YRS)&UNFORTUNATELY MARRIED AN ABUSER- I LOST MY KIDS TO THIS(wasnt capable of keeping up with 3 teens;due to health)someone in nc was able to take me in;others in ohio &oregon &pa took in my kids--so we lost our home but each other as well-I am still trying to find help for housing health care and income. I was a good person who gave back to the community& taught my kids to too: but i am not an illegal immigrant; a drunk; or druggie or a minority so i am SHIT OUT OF LUCK!! isnt america grand?? My son has been to afganistan 2x &iraq 2x~getting ready for #5(he is special forces airborne)I CAN GIVE THIS COUNTRY MY SON'S LIFE BUT THEY CANT HELP ME WITH MEDICINE, DRS; OR A HOME THAT I CAN FIND COMFORT IN~ SOMETHINGS NOT RIGHT WITH THIS PIC-AND ITS NOT ALWAYS THE HOMELESS PEOPLE- THIS IS GOING TOGET WORSE IN THE NEXT YEAR ESPECIALLY MORE FAMILIES~ REMEMBER ONLY GOD HAS THE RIGHT OF JUDGEMENT; WALK IN MY SHOES THEN TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL

Take control of your life

If you are incapable of supporting yourself due to injury and have no means of support, have your son apply for your official dependency status with the Army. You can then receive medical care through DOD. It has to be fully documented but it can be done. BTW, if only God has a right to judge, why do I get called for jury duty? You need to accept reality - we are ALL judged, every single day, by everyone we meet...amd most often, they are judging us by our actions.


I'd rather they tore this down and just had a grassy lot than to give this to the homeless groups. The Federal Government obviously doesn't have a clue to how hard are area is fighting to fix itself up. Greenfield Lake already has issues with drugs and homeless and adding another shelter right at the lake is just adding fuel to the fire. We already have the homeless foot traffic daily along Carolina Beach Road. There's just nothing near the lake, this center or this area to benefit the homeless. Their proposal also calls for adding trailers to supplement the amount of space needed as well as a lot of modifications to this building to make it livable. It's also a good walk to the closest public transportation and there aren't many places around this area to even find jobs or get groceries. To the Fed Govt...please listen to Jason Thompson and Laura Padgett, they've already heard our concerns over this building and know and understand what the impact of "yet another" homeless community in Wilmington would do to our area.

Get your facts straight!

Dont speak for other council members. Jason Thompson and Laura P both support ending homelessness. They felt at the time that this property could be better used for other programs. Don't make assumptions that the two of them wouldnt support other projects for this very same reason, they have and would. They are both very supportive of the 10 year plan. Just because we have different opinions on different issues does not and should not segregate us at large. Stop being ignorant and beligerent. It you want to discuss the facts, than get your facts straight on your statistics for homelessness. Stop talking about what you would and would not do, what you believe to be right or wrong, put your money where your mouth is and get correct information. You go spend a day in transitional housing, which is far from a shelter. You go spend some time with someone who is mentally ill, I hope and pray its noone you know. You go spend some time at a permanent supportive housing program. Ignorance, its so sad.

WHAT is with you "advocates?"

"Go walk a mile in my shoes..." "You go spend a day in transitional housing..." "You go spend some time with someone who is mentally ill..." "You go spend some time at a permanent supportive housing program." Jeez, talk about IGNORANT, has it EVER occured to you that we don't have to do any of that lets-pretend silliness because we have managed our life well, and will never wind up homeless? This will shock you - a lot of us can make it through life on our own. We don't need "advocates," and we sure don't need a nanny government taking care of us.

we just can't catch a break in Sunset Park

Last thing we need on West Lakeshore Drive is a homeless shelter. It is bad enough that the punks,bums and weirdos have taken over the east side of Greenfield Lake Park, do we really need to encourage them to infest the west side also? BTW, send your "trollops in trouble" elsewhere too we don't need a junior prostitute training center either. If you want to give something to these people how about some bus tickets to Charleston SC!