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Church Homeless Shelter Draws Controversy

Neighbors don't want the shelter in their neighborhood.

A Dundalk church's plans to open a homeless shelter at its parsonage this fall and winter is drawing the ire of neighbors.

The Dundalk United Methodist Church, part of the Streets of Hope program—a joint effort of area churches—plans to open a homeless shelter for up to 16 men from October through April, according to a report Saturday on Fox 45.

But some neighors of the church, located in the 6900 block of Mornington Road,  are concerned and the Greater Dundalk Alliance will discuss the homeless shelter issue 7 p.m., Wednesday at its regularly scheduled meeting at the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society.

Some neighbors of the church told the staion they are concerned the men could be sex offenders or drug addicts.

Karla Schaefer, director of Streets of Hope, said the men are screened and sex offenders and felons are not allowed into the Streets of Hope program. Streets of Hope was profiled by the Baltimore Sun last November. The Dundalk United Methodist Church currently hosts a soup kitchen on Thursdays.

Carolyn Jones, president of the Greater Dundalk Alliance, lives on the same street as the parsonage and told Patch that she opposes the shelter.

"I don't care what they say about the screening of the men," Jones said. "We already have the highest percentage of Section 8 housing in the county and more registered sex offenders than I care to think about."

Jones said the Dundalk United Methodist Church Thursday soup kitchen and nearby , with a soup kitchen on Mondays, already attract homeless people to the area.

"This is not a positive for the community," Jones said. 

Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. has been invited to attend the Wednesday night meeting, Jones siad, and a representative for state Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. is expected to attend.

Ed Mathus, president of Dundalk United Methodist Church Council, will attend and address the meeting as well, Jones said.

"I want to know how this is happening," Jones said. "That property is not zoned for this."

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KATHLEEN SEARS October 05, 2011 at 08:14 PM
I lived in dundalk since 1958. As far as the people, property values going down, crime on the rise, bums, etc. that is in every area which many have found out when they thought they were moving to better places.
KATHLEEN SEARS October 05, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I would rather have an addict around me in rehab etc. then an active drug user. people need to open their hearts and minds instead of being so close minded. If you give a homeless person a place to stay, they can then shower, eat, then look for work and maybe not be homeless anymore. When you are at the bottom, most people given a chance will rise up.
David Robert Crews October 05, 2011 at 08:31 PM
According to an employee of Three Garden Village, that apartment complex is owned by a very wealthy man who lives in Florida. Three Garden has some Section 8 subsidized rental units. And I had heard from people not connected with Three Garden that some residents of Three Garden Vil came with the Move To Opportunity influx of Baltimore City Public Housing residents who were moved into Baltimore County. According to commenter Love and Peace, no one was moved into anywhere in Dundalk by MTO. But I do know that there are Section 8 subsidized residents in Three Garden Vil - and an absentee landlord owns Three Garden Vil. Absentee landlords own other residential properties in Dundalk that are Section 8 subsidized. I have no right or enough info to say that all absentee landlords of Sec 8 properties allow problematic people to rent from them, but we all know that some landlords - both absentee ones and ones who are local residents - some landlords (not all) do not care if any of their residents (Sec 8 subsidized or not) cause community problems. New absentee landlords own the 3 main buildings in Dundalk Village Shopping Center. The previous landlords of those properties were not only absentee landlords, but were about as lousy at managing the place as can be. Absentee landlords own other properties there, which are constantly littered messes. Wealthy, absentee landlords are profiteering sources of a substantial portion of the Dundalk community's problems. That's a fact.
David Robert Crews October 05, 2011 at 08:54 PM
I almost forgot to say, before I could form an oppinion or come to any solid conclutions about the Methodist Church having a shelter for homelless men, I would have to attend, or read a good report on, the upcoming community meeting about it at the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society. I can't be there. But I must say, if the meeting is as well attended by people on all sides of the issue, and the people there are allowed to express themselves about that issue, as well as people on all sides of it have written out some of what they have to say about it on here, then I should be able to trust the outcome of the meeting. I may not agree with the outcome, but I shall feel satisfied that it was arrived at through honest, heart-felt, expressions of soulful community input.
Mary Catherine Haines October 05, 2011 at 10:23 PM
I have lived in Dundalk for 65 years. Two of my children have chosen to remain in Dundalk to raise their children. Stop by Rita's Supper Table any Monday and you will see your neighbor, your school mate, families and working poor. For over 30 years we have served a hot meal every Monday with little problems. Very few of the guests are true homeless. Most are long time Dundalk residents. We have continued to have enough food every Monday with no budget. God provides for us so I believe we are doing His work.
KATHLEEN SEARS October 05, 2011 at 10:56 PM
May God bless you for your work and thinking about the less fortunate
Joe Pasko October 06, 2011 at 02:13 PM
I attended the meeting last n ight, and boy what a joke. I don't think any rep for the church or homeless program had any clue or answers to this situation. Examples were what is done with the drunks or high addicts when they are supposedly turned away from the shelter, how 16 men are to realistically share 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, an answer to the zoning violation of the proposal, as well as why was the community was informed SO late? The pastor showed up late and told residents the church had "planned" to tell the community; so the church was never going to get the community opinions and they were just going to do what they wanted to regardless of feedback. Even more sickening was the portrayal by MANY on the staff that you are either for this shelter or you are heartless. Lastly, if the program is SO great, why do the 10 day rotations and just house them permanantly in other churchs that are in the middle of a residential neighborhood?
KATHLEEN SEARS October 06, 2011 at 02:24 PM
well you think they would have planned for this better and looked into things. I REALLY HATE TO SEE PEOPLE FREEZING ON THE STREETS. I OWNED A BUSINESS IN DUNDALK AND THERE WERE HOMELESS SLEEPING ON THE GROUND OUT BACK. I LET THEM SLEEP IN MY BUSINESS ON COLD NIGHTS. I JUST COULD NOT STAND THE THOUGHT OF ME SLEEPING IN A WARM BED AND ME FINDING THEM STUCK TO THE GROUND DEAD IN THE FREEZING COLD. THIS IS A TERRIBLE THING AND WUTH THE ECONOMY IS BECOMING WORSE.
Bridget Wilson October 06, 2011 at 04:05 PM
While I, personally, do not live in the area of this Church, I do feel that what the church is trying to do is exactly what we are ALL commanded to do by Jesus. Also, for those that are worried about having 16 men living in the shelter...check this out: they are already living in your community (way more than 16) on the ground, park benches, cardboard boxes, etc. And, perhaps, there are some that are breaking laws...but just think, 16 of them can have a chance to better themselves and their lives and, potentially, get off the streets for good and live productive lives!
zari October 06, 2011 at 06:11 PM
The 2011 winner of "America's Got Talent", Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. was once homeless, at the age of 19. NOW LOOK AT HIM --HE'S A MILLIONAIRE! God can turn things around! PRAISE THE LORD! Amen.
zari October 06, 2011 at 06:13 PM
There are a lot of successful people who were once homeless. Tell those men there's hope for them too.
zari October 06, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Everybody has an ability, a talent or skill --just figure out what yours is. The way to really know yourself is to first know God, because as He grows us in Him, He's showing us ourselves --the good and the bad --and he's weeding out the bad --letting the good flourish and bring prosperity. Get to know God and He'll show you --you, and what great things He has in store for you. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)
Roxane October 07, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Well put Mr. Crews. And if we look at the conditions in many of the poor neighborhoods of Baltimore City, we see ABSENTEE LANDLORDS as one of the root causes. Another telling fact is that there is no grocery store, only bodegas in Dundalk now.
Kathy October 07, 2011 at 07:39 PM
The reason these men are only housed here for 10 days out of the month is because there are a number of churchs who are part of this program. They are rotating the man between the churches because no one church alone can afford to house them all the time. This church is the only one giving the organization a hard time. Have any of you gone onto watchdog and put in your address? There are 50 sex offenders who live/work within a one mile radius of this church. Maybe you should go worry about them and what they may do to your children. Do you even realize that there will be someone with these men at all time? Someone that if anything bad happens they can call the police. Two of the men who are volunteering their time to do this are retired police officers!!! You should feel even safer sleeping in your bed at night with them across the street!!! Your neighborhood is no better than anywhere else...in fact it's littered with sex offenders. All these people are trying to do is make sure these men survive through the winter without freezing to death. Shame on you for thinking you are better than those people. Any one of us could become homeless at any point in time and I think you would like for someone to help you if that ever happened to you.
Joe Pasko October 07, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Onnce again it's either you are in favor of this and it's location or you are an un caring non-Christian who wants to see the homeless freeze to death!!! Amazing.
KATHLEEN SEARS October 07, 2011 at 08:41 PM
you know what I am not a religiousfanatic, but I swear this reminds me of the good people standing raising their fist saying crucify Him, crucufy Him, or spitting on Him, or, OR mocking Him thinking nthey are so righteous It will be harder for a richman to get into heaven then for a camel to go through an eye of a needle. Can you imagine what Our Lord is thinking when He is watching all if this if you deny the least of my breatheran you deny me
Joe Pasko October 08, 2011 at 04:26 AM
So for all the bible thumpers who don't care about laws other then the bible, why do you not get organized and welcome these men in your own homes? if 3 bedrooms and 1 bath is fine for 16, surely you could make a spare bedroom up and house at least 5 right? Accept unconditionally or be berated!! Love it!!! Who cares about neighbors or community or safety of 16 residents jammed into a box. According to the only caring people, you must submit and accept.
KATHLEEN SEARS October 08, 2011 at 02:49 PM
no bible thumper here! since you came up with such a good idea why don't you do it. It would show everyone just how heart feeling you are. Housing people in a church with supervision is quite different then letting 5 men live in a home with a woman alone. I am done with this, If I had a big place I would take people in, as I stated before when I had a business I did let 2 homeless people stay inside on cold nights.
Freddy October 08, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Here is a question: has anyone called zoning, the Fire Marshalls office of the Baltimore County Fire department, Environmental Health Services for serving food to ensure they have meet all regulations and codes and have the proper licenses of the County and State to have shelter at this location?
Melody October 08, 2011 at 08:25 PM
I'm in favor of the mens shelter in dundalk but where do the homeless women go? Sometimes they do not have the money to travel to the shelter at Franklin square and also if you are a woman trying to stay there you might as well stay out because they make you leave extremely early when it is still so bitter cold
Freddy October 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM
No crash pad for the homeless. This is one small victory for the community around the church and for Dundalk.
KATHLEEN SEARS October 12, 2011 at 02:11 PM
really are you that blind look around you crash pads are all over the place in dundalk and they are unsupervised, all in the woods, in every hole a person feels like laying down in
Edward October 12, 2011 at 03:17 PM
All I have to say is all these bleeding hearts is what is killing this country! Wake up America!
KATHLEEN SEARS October 12, 2011 at 03:26 PM
THIS COUNTRY IS ALREADY DEAD AND BLEEDING HEARTS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IF ANYTHING GREEDY HEARTS DID
Mr. Smoot October 12, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Great news...now lets work on getting the soup kitchen closed!!
Freddy October 12, 2011 at 08:21 PM
And let’s not stop there. Clear all tent cities in all wooded areas, clear out the drunks and bums in the parks, limit the number of MTA buses coming through our community and finally limit the number of section 8 or any other home assistance programs in Dundalk. Then and only then will things change for Dundalk.
Mr. Smoot October 13, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Could not agee with you more Freddy...it's time to pull together and clean up Dundalk for the hard working families that live here and rise their kids here. The parks and the shopping areas should be for us to enjoy and not the bums and drunks to use as a hang out. Dundalk use to pride itself on being a community of honest, hard working people...now look at what we have become. If Baltimore Co. will not enforce the laws/codes maybe the community members (in a legal way) should help them.
Edward October 13, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Freddy sorry to say Bumdalk is NOW THE PROJECTS, Why don't the powers that be fix or come election time we throw all those bums out on the street too, so they will see first hand the Real Dundalk!
Save Fort Howard November 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM
You talk out of both sides of your mouth, 2/3 of all welfair payments in Maryland are for white people. Who are these folks you speak of? Section 8 helps our elderly, our disabled, our children and even retired military families. Yes, military families are on section 8 and 4 out of 10 homeless in MD are VETERANS!! Speak Unity, Semper Fi
Joyce January 24, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Amen - God is in each of these people - they are all his children - thank you for voicing the truth

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