|A temporarily homeless shelter would be installed on this field at the rear of the Lincolnia Senior Center.|
A consultant hired by Fairfax County to assess the security needs of the Lincolnia Senior Center and the relocated Bailey’s homeless shelter calls for surveillance cameras, armed security guards, and metal detectors.
The county is proposing to temporarily move the the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter from Moncure Avenue to a modular structure in a field bordered by the Lincolnia Senior Center, the Stonegate at Landmark townhouses, the Charleston Square townhouses, and the Arbor Park of Alexandria apartments.
The Bailey’s shelter has to be relocated by March 2017 to make way for a 375-unit apartment building to be developed by AvalonBay as part of the Southeast Quadrant revitalization project. County officials told residents they plan to move the shelter for about four or five years to the field on N. Chambliss Street in Lincolnia while they continue to search for a suitable, permanent site.
The draft “Facility Security Assessment,” by Mark Williams of New Horizon Security Services, can be found on the “Stop the Shelter” website, created by Lincolnia residents who don’t want the shelter moved to their neighborhood. That site also has the “2232 Public Facility Application Review” by the Public Private Partnerships Branch of the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services describing the temporarily shelter facility.
Safety and crime are among neighborhood residents’ most frequently cited complaints about the shelter relocation plan. At recent community meetings, neighbors expressed concerns about children playing outside near vagrants, homeless people using drugs and alcohol near their homes, homeless people getting into the senior center, and the potential for crime.
“Security must be a priority,” the New Horizon report states. “The elderly are a very fragile population and homeless shelters carry the stigma of crime and nuisance behaviors.” The report recommends security measures for both the shelter and senior center costing a total of $150,650 for such things as:
- Five exterior and four interior surveillance cameras at the Lincolnia Senior Center and nine exterior and seven interior cameras at the homeless shelter.
- Six duress alarms – to protect staff from possible harm – including three each at the senior center and shelter.
- A burglar alarm system at the senior center.
- A more secure entry system for both facilities, including electronic locks, complete building lockdown, a new proxy card reader system, and convex mirrors.
- A six-foot chain-link fence around the shelter.
- An armed security guard at the shelter.
- A walk-through magnetometer for the shelter.
- Improved lighting systems for both facilities, including LED lights in the parking lots.
The report also recommends mandatory training for all employees on crime reporting, personal protection, how to deal with difficult people, and workplace violence.
To address concerns about vagrants wandering in the neighborhood, the report recommends designating an area for homeless clients to gather outside, strict enforcement of curfews, and restrict access to the shelter to people with business at the shelter.
The report recommends shelter staff track all problems, such as clients wandering away from the site and homeless people knocking on neighborhood doors, and check client records for warrants, orders of protection, and trespass orders.
The report proposes having the shelter invite community members, business owners, and shelter residents to quarterly meetings.