Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Will Be Interesting To Watch

The City of Temple has voted to close portions of the Martha's Kitchen homeless shelter.
Residents of the male dormitory at Martha’s Kitchen in Temple will have to seek shelter elsewhere, as the city’s Building and Standards Commission voted Monday night to close the building next week, citing safety and sanitary concerns.

The commission also voted to close the non-profit homeless shelter’s furniture store and thrift shop.

Martha’s Kitchen chairman Ray Severn said the decision will slowly lead to the shutdown of the agency.

“It’s basically going to shut off our lifeline,” said Severn of the decision to close the men’s dorm and the stores. “We’re not going to have as much money coming in, and we won’t have the males to work in the kitchen.”

The commission voted to close the male dorm and shops by next Monday and will give the agency 90 days from the date of the meeting to make repairs requested since last October to the structures. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

Martha's Kitchen was one of the few homeless shelters in the Bell County area. Previous shelters in Killeen have long ago closed. This seems particularly ill timed due to the nations economic conditions. Economic conditions have also exacerbated funding issues for non-profit agencies such as Martha's Kitchen. Shelters are expensive to run.

However, homeless shelters have to have a benefit to the communities where they are located.
Temple Police Department Cpl. Chuck Borgeson said he had “been working the Avenue G area for two and a half years every day.

“(Martha’s Kitchen) is not helping the community,” said Borgeson, who said he lived undercover at the shelter for three weeks while working drug cases in the area. “It’s not helping people get jobs - there are folks that I met there who had lived there for 10 to 15 years.”

Borgerson said he led a unit of 16 police officers last year in an effort to clean up the area around Avenue G, but when officers ended their efforts, “people began to wake up finding (Martha’s Kitchen) tenants sleeping around in their front yards again.” Source: Temple Daily Telegram

It's a fine line between helping the homeless get on their feet and perpetuating their lifestyle choices.

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