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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Bailey's shelter isn't a huge problem for these neighbors



The Ellery Place townhomes.

Is the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter a magnet for crime in the neighborhood? Not that much, according to three nearby residents who happened to be outside on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

Residents of Lincolnia where the shelter is slated to be relocated are concerned that an influx of homeless people in their neighborhood will lead to more crime, so we took a walk around the Bailey’s Shelter to gauge local opinion. Two neighbors said it’s not a problem at all, and the third wasn’t troubled by living near a shelter but did have a few issues.

The shelter is “no problem” said a man working on the garden in front of his townhouse on Ellery Circle around the corner from the shelter. The resident, who preferred to be anonymous, said, “we hardly ever see anyone from the shelter. The police go by every day. We really can’t complain.”

He bought his townhouse three years ago knowing the shelter was there and says he’s never heard of any home or car break-ins. A bigger concern to this resident is the lack of parking at Ellery Place and the increased traffic likely to result from the AvalonBay apartments planned for the shelter site on Moncure Avenue.

Fairfax County is relocating the shelter to a field behind the Lincolnia Senior Center on N. Chambliss Street to facilitate redevelopment of the Southeast Quadrant on Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. Safety issues are a real concern, as a security assessment prepared for Fairfax County recommends strong measures, including armed guards and metal detectors.

Another resident of Ellery Place, Noah Alotaibi, said he isn’t aware of any crime associated with the shelter, and said, “I don’t have any problems with it.” He didn’t know the shelter was there during the entire first year he’d been living in the community. “When homeless people walk around, they say hi to everyone,” he said.

A resident of Hoffmans Lane.
“They normally stay by the shelter but sometimes they walk through the neighborhood,” said a resident of Hoffmans Lane. “I haven’t been seeing them lately,” he said, but in the past had noticed them “walking around drinking and throwing trash on the ground.”

A while ago, a homeless person broke into his cousin’s house further up Hoffman’s Lane. His cousin was home at the time and called the police, who caught the suspect. Despite that incident, he said he didn’t have any problems with the shelter. It would be worse if it wasn’t there; “then they would have nowhere to go.”

13 comments:

  1. County needs to move the shelter to his property.

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    1. Uh, the shelter is currently located near his property. Unclear what you're on about here.

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  2. The crime statistics from the Fairfax County website shed light on this issue and they tell an alarming story. The data for police events since 2011 for a 1000 ft radius around 3525 Moncure Avenue compared to the same area around 4710 North Chambliss (the Senior Center) show 175 assaults for Moncure Avenue versus just 21 for Lincolnia and 22 sex offenses in the Moncure area compared to three for North Chambliss. What this means for Lincolnia is that we can expect our violent crime rate to increase by a factor of seven! Not a small, statistically insignificant increase but 700% more violent crime. Is this really the kind of unsafe and threatening environment we should be importing and exposing to our vulnerable population of 200 Seniors at the Lincolnia Senior Center?

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    1. correlation/causation much?

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    2. Let's not forget the new Apage Senior Daycare facility also on Lincolnia Road - just down the street from the "proposed" relocation site.

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  3. This article hasn't talked to the people I have talked to, the people who currently live around the shelter. They can't wait to get rid of the shelter. They say they have paid their dues.

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  4. This article is an excellent argument for keeping the Shelter in its current location. The surrounding community has adapted to the Shelter in many ways. For example, Ellery Place is located behind the Shelter and does not lie in the traffic path between the Shelter and services or transportation. This minimizes foot traffic through that neighborhood. In Lincolnia, however, the Stonegate community will be on a direct foot traffic path between the new Shelter location and the 7-11 and restaurants on Beauregard and Little River Turnpike. The consequences of this will be predictable and heartbreaking. The population at greatest risk will be the elderly at the Lincolnia Senior Center because the Shelter will be in their back yard. Not only will the Seniors lose the only green space in the area to exercise and enjoy outdoor activities, the badging and security requirements outlined in the Draft Facility Security Assessment will oblige them to remain indoors at all times for safety reasons. Aren't our Seniors entitled to retain the quality of life they currently possess? This point was raised to the at the April 11 public hearing and the County responded that the Shelter will only be a "temporary" inconvenience that will last only 4-5 years. For many of the Seniors at the Center, however, that constitutes a life sentence.

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  5. do people really think the homeless people are going to rape and murder these seniors? maybe they will end up being friends and learn from each other.

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    1. Thank you.

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    2. Last summer a resident of the Bailey's Shelter murdered a priest while on a retreat up in Maryland. So yes..... it is a major concern!!

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  6. Serving our at-risk populations requires more than naive hand-waving. Each group has unique challenges that must be addressed with the right solutions otherwise you will do more harm than good. This is why Zoning Best Practices, as published by the American Planning Association, recommends minimum distances of 2500 feet between homeless shelters and adult day care facilities, residential neighborhoods, and elementary schools. These practices allow each at-risk group to receive the care and services they need to thrive. Violating best practices, as Fairfax County is proposing to do, is at odds with decades of established and successful social science and it will result in material harm to both the homeless and the Seniors. Both the homeless and the Seniors deserve better treatment than this.

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  7. The residents of Ellery Place have a privacy fence that basically prevents people from using their property as a shortcut to Seminary Road. This is a deterrent to the homeless walking through.

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  8. Ellery Place townhouses were constructed adjacent to he pre-existing homeless shelter. Buyers knew about the shelter and chose to buy homes there. The homeowners in Stonegate and Charleston Square as well as the Seniors living at the center are having this incompatible use suddenly imposed on them.

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