Homeless shelter put on hold due to community concerns

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

WYNNE, AR (KAIT) - While in the beginning stages of starting a homeless shelter in the city of Wynne, one non-profit organization has put their efforts on hold due to concerns from some residents.

According to Phoebe Curtis, Chair of the 363 Organization, their initial mission is to start the shelter.

"We look to identify and serve the needs of Wynne and in doing so, we noticed the homelessness is a real need."

The group had a few locations in mind for the new shelter but the old abandoned apartment complex at 511 Poplar Avenue was at the top of their original list.

"It was a church then turned into an apartment complex so the layout of the building was great," said Curtis. "We felt it would be a positive environment in general."

Curtis took the idea to the city council and things were looking good for their mission after confirming the zoning laws would allow for a shelter to be built. However, after neighboring residents voiced their concerns, that plan came to a halt.

"There has been quite an uproar in the neighborhood afterward," said Curtis. "But because 363 has many programs of feeding kids and so forth, we thought it would be best to maintain a positive energy where we have such big supporters in the community."

Curtis said they will still push forward with their search for a new location.

"We also want to protect the homeless and want them to be in a positive environment as well so we are approaching this from all aspects," said Curtis.

With the steps they have taken to fight homelessness, Curtis said they have raised awareness in the community.

"There is a huge awareness issue now," said Curtis. "We have a list signed by the homeless and we are up to 30 now so it is a real need."

Curtis added that even though they were rejected in that location she understands their concerns and is willing to take the necessary steps to make this a good thing for everyone.

"There's been a positive reaction outside that particular neighborhood per se and even those neighbors are in favor of a homeless shelter so we are just trying to do what we can to put it in a location that is best for all," said Curtis.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android