Arlington Plans Vote on Controversial Shelter

New facility would expand services for the homeless

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Officials in Arlington County will decide Saturday whether plans for a controversial new homeless shelter will move forward.

    The county will consider buying a seven-story building at 2020 North 14th Street, across from the courthouse complex.

    The first two floors of the building would be used yearround to house the homeless and provide services for them, including counseling.

    The current facility for the homeless is about a block-and-a-half away but only operates during the coldest months of the year, and its immediate neighbors are businesses.

    Some neighbors of the proposed new location are concerned about the move.

    Kenneth Robinson is president of the Woodbury Heights Condominium Complex, a building right next door to the new building.

    He says half the residents in his building are single women and children, and they're worried that drug addicts, sex offenders and other criminals could be housed so close to their homes.

    If the county buys the building, Robinson wants officials to promise not to house criminals in it and to provide 24/7 security.

    Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier says that there have been very few problems at the current facility in all the years it's been there and that the county is planning public meetings to hear the concerns of residents.

    There are currently three retail businesses in the first floor of the building the county is looking to buy.  Officials say there are plans for them to stay there.

    The other five floors of the building would eventually be used to consolidate other county offices now located in leased space.

    Saturday's meeting is set for 8 a.m.