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Board Asked to Approve Purchase of Homeless Shelter Building

by Katie Pyzyk — November 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm 6,961 158 Comments

Next week, the Arlington County Board will be asked to approve the County’s acquisition of a building in Courthouse that will house offices and a homeless shelter.

At its meeting next Saturday (November 17), the Board will examine the purchase contract for the building (2020 14th St. N.), which has an expected purchase price of $27.1 million. County staff estimates the total project cost at approximately $42 million over five years, factoring in additional costs for design, renovation, and tenant relocation.

The building purchase has been controversial since it was proposed nearly a year ago, both due to the cost and resident complaints about safety.

As far as funding for the project, the county said the following in a press release:

Includes $20 million of revenue bonds issued through the Arlington County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), $12 million of previously approved Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) funding, and $6 million from Fiscal Year 2012 close-out funds. In approving the property acquisition, the County Board will also be asked to approve a temporary loan of $20 million from the Utilities Fund PAYG account to the General Fund PAYG account. This will be a temporary “bridge” loan, which will be reimbursed by the issuance of IDA revenue bonds. Funding for the $4 million in out-year costs is not proposed for County Board action at this time. Staff will request these funds once floors 4-7 of the building are available and renovations can take place.

If the measure is approved, the county expects to acquire title to the property at a closing on November 20. More information about the project is available on its website.

More from the county’s press release:

Acquiring 2020 14th St. N. will help the County government meet immediate space needs and provide the flexibility needed to support growing community needs. For ease of public access and efficiency, it is important that the County government’s office space and staff be located in the Courthouse area, which is the center of County government operations.

If the County Board approves the County’s acquisition of the property at 2020 14th Street N., County staff will host a series of public discussions and workshops to solicit input on certain physical and operational aspects of the property, including elements relating to the homeless services center.

Community dialogue: The first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2012, 7-9:30 p.m. at Key Elementary School. At this session, County staff will be listening to community questions and concerns. The result of this initial session will be community-generated input, ideas and preferences that County staff and building designers can use during the design and operational planning phases of the project.

Workshop: At the second meeting, an interactive workshop scheduled for Dec. 17, 2012 (7-9:30 p.m.) at Key Elementary, participants will be able to review draft building and operational plans, which will incorporate input from the first meeting. Participants will have the opportunity to provide further suggestions at that meeting.

Design review: The third meeting, scheduled for Jan. 14, 2013 (7-9:30 p.m.) at Key Elementary, will include a presentation of the County’s final plans.

Concurrent with these meetings, the County will solicit input on aspects of the project through its PLACE/OpenArlington online virtual town hall meeting website.

The project timeline is expected to include a Planning Commission hearing and a Use Permit hearing before the County Board in spring 2013.

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  • Indifferent

    Wow, the comments are empty? Oh wait, it was just posted. Commence whining!

  • Paul Ryan

    These homeless people brought that on themselves. Why should the taxpayers pay for this?!

  • Right of Center

    So why are NoVa residents…the blue-ist of blue, GOP bashing, bleeding heart liberals…now having a ‘not in my backyard’ reception for a public service they ideologically believe in?

    • drax

      Are they?

      • Captain_Obvious

        are they what ?

        • drax

          Are NOVa residents all bleeding heart liberals and are they having a NIMBY reception for this public service?

          • Josh S

            (Don’t leave out “blueist of the blue.” Has this guy never been out of the state? Try visiting Boulder, Cambridge, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Ithaca, etc, etc to get a wee bit of perspective….)

  • jackson

    Time for a bum roundup, they’ll come from all over the country to stay here year round, why can’t we smoke in bars? and so on…

  • Mitt Romney

    Will it be big enough to house the 47% of the population that depend on this kind of stuff?

    • CourthouseChris

      You are entirely incorrect on the meaning of the 47% statistic you allude to there. 47% only refers to the portion of the population that pay no net income tax (but of course speaks nothing of payroll taxes, for which the percentage of payors is far smaller) – and in now way represents the size of the population dependent on government services. However, I don’t expect someone such as yourself, Mr. Romney, to have a firm grasp of facts.

      • CourthouseChris

        *in no way

      • Mitt Romney

        You know this isn’t the real Mitt, right? I mean, I’m pretty bored now, but not enough to post on Arlnow comments.

        • CourthouseChris

          Wait, what? I thought everyone was required to use their real names around here. My first name is indeed Court, middle name “House” (after the doctor), and last name “Chris”. I’m starting to think Captain Obvious isn’t a real Captain. How could I have been so deceived??

          • Swimming Serb

            I think the commenting wolf should have given it away.

  • Right of Center

    Everything will be much closer for the CVS wheelchair robber — courthouse, jail, home. Not to mention Starbuck and his choice of froyo joints.

  • Ashton Height Resident

    How sad that the Board refuses to shop for a better deal. The “search” was rigged from the beginning so no other building would be considered.

    I support helping homeless. (And, contrary to the rants found on this site, not all the homeless are bums. Some are working poor.)

    The Highlander motel on Wilson would be a very good option for a homeless shelter. Much cheaper to acquire (in whole or in part), already set-up to house people, option of office space, Metro and bus access, parking available, flexible to house families. This type of option was never considered. (Similar to the $72 million pool.)

    It is too bad we have such a myopic board.

    • Chuck

      Good idea…BUT, the County refuses to “take” revenue producing business for non revenue producing government use. Woops! what did I just type? They are forcing revenue producing businesses to relocate and losing the RE tax on the building… oh well, forget my post.

    • bobbytiger

      Of course it’s a shame that “we have such a myopic board”. Yet, people in this county return them to office year after year, after year.

      • DCBuff

        Unfortunately, purely from a choice for voters perspective, there aren’t alternatives that work for people. The Rs simply aren’t running as a unique brand of “Arlington Rs”–something like, “we are fiscally conservatively, but our social values aren’t anti everything”–and the ACDP is dominated by the hyper left to the exclusion of moderate Ds. The greens have neither the party infrastructure nor thecash to make a real challenge at this point. And, no independent that might combine fiscal and social moderation with the cash and organization necessary to be viable has stood up.

        • Directional Signal

          Hyper-left? What does that even mean?

          • DCBuff

            If you have to ask…

          • Justin Russo

            …it means it only exists in the imagination of the right-wing nuts who comment on arlnow.

    • KalashniKEV

      It’s not myopia… it’s corruption.

      • drax

        Sure, Kev.

      • Josh S

        You do realize that at this point your constant corruption drumbeat has about as much meaning or import as steve’s whining about smoking in public places?

      • CW

        Definitely corruption. The powerful homeless lobby is clearly paying them under the table in cigarette butts and chewing gum…

        • Joe

          go ride your bike cw.

          • biker

            go eat your chips joe

    • AVer

      The board is primarily shopping for more office space and wants to keep all their offices in one spot. The first few floors would be the shelter. Are you proposing that the county purchase two properties (more spending)? Perhaps the county should move ALL their offices and police HQs to S Arlington where it’s cheaper. I would not mind if the shelter came with them. I cannot think of a safer place for a homeless shelter than next to the police station.

      • Patrick in Courthouse

        Do it, and let Courthouse be a proper mixed business and housing neighborhood.

        • Patrick in Courthouse

          For the record, I have never done business in a county building… the only closeness convenience is the police presence and that I could plausibly do jury duty in my pajamas.

          I don’t want the shelter here even with the police station… as soon as the police station starts hassling the regular trouble makers the county will put the muzzle on the police or otherwise look bad. Any negative repercussion will be buried.

        • Josh S

          Let Courthouse be a proper mixed business and housing neighborhood? Courthouse? Court – house? You know, as in a large government building with various government functions typically associated with it? Also frequently a neighborhood where other government functions are located?

          No reason to keep out businesses and housing from the neighborhood, but this “proper” business is a bit puzzling.

    • Josh S

      Except that the Highlander motel would not serve as a good location for the rest of the government operations that will be put into that building. In other words, it’s not being purchased just for a homeless shelter.

      • CW

        Not just a homeless shelter?! What are you going to tell me next, that the parks bond is going to fund things other than one swimming pool?

        • occasionally a fact

          Well, yes … several pools and fitness space in the aquatics/fitness complex, plus $1 million for open space land acquisition, plus improvements at several other parks.

          • CW

            I don’t think you got my tone right…

    • Rolling Thunder

      They can’t have the Highlander…..where would we stay?

  • Deadite

    Well the first six comments were clearly submitted by the same person, but I’ll answer anyway. This isn’t just a case of NIMBY, it’s a case of the county seizing private (and tax-paying) property, then spending at least an additional $50 million (because like every project, it will come in over budget) of taxpayer money to build something that will only attract the dregs of the DC/NOVA area into a densely populated and otherwise high-rent, well-to-do area.

    Nobody is in favor completely shutting out the needy, but there are smarter ways of going about it than seizing private property and unnecessarily blowing $50M on the project in an unsuitable location. There are 100 different locations in Arlington that would be better suited for this type of project.

    By the way, I’m a liberal and even I think this project is an abomination.

    • Thes

      Can you name 5 or 6 of the 100 specific locations you have in mind?

      • drax

        Your house!

    • drax

      The county is not “seizing” anything. They are not using eminent domain, they are simply trying to buy the building.

      • ARLnowandlater

        No need for eminent domain when the purchase price offered for the building is over $11M what the property was assessed at several years ago.

    • Josh S

      You’re a liberal but you refer to people as “dregs?”

      Nice.

    • Josh S

      Also, you are aware that there is already a homeless shelter in your precious, hoity-toity neighborhood?

  • Locutus

    Would rather have paid for this instead of the pool, but of course have to buy both and have to buy it now right Arl County?

    • DCBuff

      Don’t forget the trolley! And, the Artisphere (subsidized $41/per person, per visit!)!

    • Josh S

      Please do track the timing of the spending on this project and the swimming center for us. But let’s try to agree what we mean by “right now” before you get started.

  • Chuck

    Gee, I thought I read where the County is looking at a $50+M short fall for the next budget. Has anyone even thought of asking the County what the debt service is for all this spending.

    Arlington has a tendency to float bonds and never use the money, the bond expires, the County PAYS the debt service and nothing gets built. The Fire Station in Cherrydale, had a bond expire and the County had to float another one…so they borrow the money and don’t use it but pay for it anyway….

    Time to reign in the SPENDING! Oh did anyone notice real estate tax is now up again?

    • Josh S

      Huh?

      There’s really no need to ask. It’s part of the budget, which is public.

      What expenses are you referring to in the case of the Cherrydale fire station? Unspent borrowed funds? Really? Can you be more specific?

    • brown before green

      Um, no. There is a world of difference between getting authority for issuance of a bond by the people (the latest round happened Nov 6), and actually selling a bond for a project. There is a lot of bond authority approved, but the actual bonds are sold once a project is imminent. Your claim of debt service on unused bonds is false.

  • Alan

    County board asked to approve frivolous spending? Golly, not sure how that conversation will go.

  • Board

    I will not object to this year round shelter if the members of the board promise to be PERSONALLY liable for any and all crimes committed against the residents nearby. If someone gets hurt/killed/raped, all financial costs will be born by the board members, not the tax payer or the insurer. No costs will be put on others as a result. If the board members are not prepared to do this, then they better not approve this.

    • Thes

      Is the crime rate now higher near the existing shelter (which is 2 blocks away)? I mean, other than the wheelchair CVS dude?

      • Dave

        There are residential buildings MUCH closer to this new shelter than near CVS. As in right next door.

        • Thes

          That’s true. But there’s an assumption in the comment above that a homeless shelter is a crime risk. Does the evidence we have from the existing shelter bear that out? Looking at the ArlNow crime map, it’s not clear that there is a huge focus (or any special) of crime near the existing shelter.

          • drax

            Facts don’t matter.

    • drax

      What about when the county approves building permits for the homes of people who commit crimes but aren’t homeless, should it be responsible for that too?

    • Co. Board

      Thanks for your comments.

  • KalashniKEV

    I’m really angry over this, but not as much as I would be if I were living in the poor sections of Arlington paying for Bums to live in a much nicer area.

    • drax

      The solution is obvious, Kev – leave your home and become homeless yourself. Then you’ll be much better off. Take advantage of the glorious life of a bum.

      • KalashniKEV

        If I were not cursed with conscience and morality, I would certainly do so.

        • drax

          I can see how being young and serving in the military would make you feel invincible to life. But you’re not.

          • KalashniKEV

            Bearing personal responsibility for the decisions I make is… ummm… a pretty big part of being a socially responsible citizen too.

            I know plenty of young and previously invincible veterans who stay drunk all day and live on the dole.

            Try harder…

          • drax

            I applaud bearing personal responsibility. But if you think you have never and will never be in a position where you are simply incapable of bearing responsibility, you are incredibly naive. Even now you depend on others sometimes, and sometimes even responsible people end up helpless or nearly helpless. Even you might be someday. Yes, you.

            And sometimes that’s through no fault of their own. There are vets who right now are homeless because they have PTSD and/or missing limbs, or people who were bankrupted by severe disease or disability and can’t work because of it, for instance. But they’re all just criminals and bums and sex offenders to you.

    • Josh S

      ?

      Do you get out at all?

      What is a “poor section” of Arlington? How is Courthouse qualitatively “much nicer” than it?

      • Joe

        Courthouse is DEFINITELY qualitatively much nicer than some areas.

        • Josh S

          Some areas where? And how?

          • Ed

            Courthouse is not nicer than any other areas.

      • KalashniKEV

        I lived in the poor section of Arlington for years before I was able to save up and purchase a home where I live now.

        It would really grind my gears if my rate of savings was slowed down while a portion of my income was thefted to provide a home for some Bum where I couldn’t yet afford to live.

        …and I’m a single guy. For many working families, this plan represents a dream denied.

    • bummer

      and living is such spendor too!

    • real estate

      you are only angry because you think it may have a negative effect on your condo property value. That is all. Don’t try and sugar coat it.

      • drax

        My prediction:

        1. Shelter is kept out of his area.
        2. His property values go up.
        3. He complains about his rising property tax bill.

        • Josh S

          It’s what’s so great about being in the party of no. You get to complain no matter what happens!!

      • ArlingtonWay

        And what exactly would be wrong with that? People work hard, often multiple jobs, to be able to afford a downpayment and move into a desirable area like Clarendon / Arlington. God forbid someone actually be concerned that their hard work and the single biggest investment they will ever make be undermined by a bunch of county bureacrats who want to play sim city social engineer by moving a couple hundred mentally ill homeless people next door. Your comment is ridiculously nieve and says more about you than it does about the person who made the comment you so smugly tried to rebut.

        • drax

          God forbid anyone else move into your neighborhood that you don’t approve of. And you should not be complaining about smugness.

          • ArlingtonWay

            Please. From the guy whose full time job is not to comment here, but to REBUT every comment here? Spare me.

          • drax

            No, I will not spare you.

          • Ricardo

            No, God forbid I must choose between paying for it or selling my property.

        • DCBuff

          I kind of agree.

        • Olaf

          ‘by moving a couple hundred mentally ill homeless people next door.’

          These people are spread throughout the county right now. This is a way to get them in one place and get the help they need, or allow those able bodied to get back on track.

          • Greg

            You don’t think this will attract more from elsewhere? I do.

      • KalashniKEV

        There is also a moral issue at play- having the government take money out of the pockets of good, hardworking people so a bunch of hungry hungry hobos can stay drunk all day and get free entitlements is Evil.

        • drax

          That may be true, Kev, but it’s cheaper than housing them all in jail or letting them ruin the neighborhood by leaving them on the streets.

          Imagine if we actually spent a little money to try to get them back on their feet, including treatment when needed, instead of just letting the problem drag on costing us so much. Nah, that would be smart.

          Of course, we could round them up and export them, like you said, but the two problems with that are that there’s nothing stopping DC or any other jurisdiction from dumping theirs on us, and it’s profounding unAmerican and unconstitutional and all that crap you fought for.

          • KalashniKEV

            I’d love to send these fellows on their jolly way with a box car and a jug of wine, but since no one is actually doing any “dumping”, let’s look at what really promotes infestation- free entitlements, benefits, and other assorted candy.

            Part of creating a safe and enjoyable place to live and work involves creating an environment where the criminal element feels unwelcome. We should endeavor to create a strong community that is downright inhospitable to vagrants and criminals.

            Our quality of life depends on it.

          • Greg

            +1

          • drax

            They’re homeless, Kev. They are not a “criminal element.”

            Some are even veterans who are homeless due to disabilities caused by combat. Even they apparently fail to shift your cognitive function past the lizard-brain.

            Fifty years ago, people were using the exact same logic as yours to exclude another group of people. You know which one.

          • KalashniKEV

            You make it sound like they’re carrying a bindle and playing the harmonica… these are not *those* kind of bums (if they ever existed) these are classified by law enforcement as “violent” sex offenders (see sex offender registry for ASPAN), substance abusers (see toxic puddle of urine at my doorstep), dangerous schizophrenics (see FireBum Leon and, yes KalashniBUM Oscar), and worse…

            They are simply not welcome.

          • drax

            So all homeless people are sex offenders and/or substance abusers and/or mentally ill?

            No, Kev. You cannot simply declare that. You have no idea who they are. In fact, you don’t know that some aren’t, say, veterans who were disabled in combat. You are so intent on spitting on the rest of them that you’re willing to spit on them too.

            Of course, most sex offenders, substance abusers and mentally ill are NOT homeless and live among us, but that fact never crossed your mind.

            And no, you do not speak for the community on whether they are welcome or not.

            Again, 50 years ago people were using the exact same logic you are now to target a different group.

          • KalashniKEV

            “So all homeless people are sex offenders and/or substance abusers and/or mentally ill?”

            No, but if there is even a 1% chance that they are, then they’ve all got to go. I still haven’t heard any reasons why this is a GOOD idea, just tap dancing around the multiple, obvious reasons it is a BAD idea.

          • drax

            So 1 percent is your threshold?

            There’s a 1 percent chance of alot of things, Kev. Even vets have probably a 1 percent chance of mental illness.

            Certainly other groups have a greater than 1 percent chance, as proven by stats, of committing crimes. We used to exclude them from our neighborhoods too. You know who I’m talking about.

          • drax

            Interesting – this paper argues that veterans are more likely to commit crimes.

            Time for a veteran roundup!

            http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/02/09/does-military-service-lead-to-crime/

  • J

    Let’s move sex offenders into a residential neighborhood and spend 42 million tax dollars the shelter.I am sure for the large price tag, they could find an alternative location and not kick out small business owners.

    The Courthouse site plan has not been updated since the early 90′s. The County is moving the shelter so they can develop the current location.If you do not think there are kick backs and other things happening behind the scenes, you are naive. They want to create their master plan on making the parking lot into a park and put in a high rise where the current shelter is. No developer wants the PR of shutting down the homeless shelter.

    To all the people who do not care about the location, let us know where you live and maybe the county can move the shelter to your neighborhood since you do not care and it does not bother you. There is a reason it is a low barrier shelter.

    • drax

      Sex offenders?

      They live in your community right now. You can look it up.

      Show me evidence that homeless people are more likely to be sex offenders. And show me where it says they will be allowed to use the shelter too – they might be excluded.

      You people are acting like scared suburbanites afraid of those people moving in. It’s funny how paranoid and insular you can be.

      • Im no expert, but I can google

        “Show me evidence that homeless people are more likely to be sex offenders.”

        I dont know if the homeless are more likely to become sex offenders, but its pretty common knowledge that many convicted sex offenders become homeless.

        http://homeless.samhsa.gov/Resource/The-Challenges-of-Prisoner-Re-Entry-QandA-with-Mike-Thompson-46761.aspx

        http://prospect.org/article/life-list

        http://themoderatevoice.com/25270/sex-offender-residency-restrictions-cause-homelessness/

        http://www.corrections.com/news/article/24500-facts-and-fiction-about-sex-offenders

        “And show me where it says they will be allowed to use the shelter too – they might be excluded.”

        http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/12/29/judge-sex-offenders-can-stay-in-homeless-shelters-near-schools/

        • ArLater

          Boom.

          • drax

            I’m not surprised that his post fooled you.

            It was akin to claiming that all animals are cats because all cats are animals.

          • Im no expert, but I can google

            No, its like someone saying that becuase they’re allergic to cats, they wouldnt want to work at an animal shelter.

          • drax

            No, it’s not like that at all.

            Take Logic 101.

          • KalashniKEV

            Bless the hearts of those like him… I hope his wife/girlfirend or sister never gets forcibly penetrated at the Whole Foods by a sexbum, and life never teaches him the foolishness of his ways.

          • drax

            Who to fear – a bum, or a guy named after a weapon threatening violence on the internet?

          • KalashniKEV

            Let’s be clear- I made no threat of physical violence. Only violent opposition to a plan that will do great harm our safety, prosperity, and quality of life as citizens of Arlington.

            Also, is your question a serious one???

            It seems like the No-Fixed-Address crowd has been featured pretty regularly here doing all kinds of Evil…

          • drax

            Oh, okay, that really clears things up, Kev.

        • drax

          “I dont know if the homeless are more likely to become sex offenders”

          Exactly.

          Your links do not prove that there is a greater risk of sex offenders being among the homeless.

          Now, suppose there was a link. Does that justify excluding them from you area? I’m not talking about a shelter, just a “bum roundup” – does a greater propensity for crime as proven by statistics justify discrimination against a certain group? Careful, because if you say yes, you also support racial segregation.

          • drax

            Awaiting a response to this question.

            Who here thinks it’s fine to exclude a group of people based on crime stats?

    • CW

      Only in Arlington can conspiracy theory accuse the board of a “master plan” involving collusion to build…a park. The horror!!!

    • lyon park

      we have a homeless shelter across the street from us already….never causes us any problems

      • J

        Not a low barrier shelter where people come and go 24 hours a day.

    • occasionally a fact

      J: “kick backs” is a serious allegation. Surely if you had any real evidence of wrongdoing, you’d enlighten everyone here.

      • drax

        He won’t be back.

  • 2020 14th St. Tenant

    I work in this building. Its a real S–T hole. Needs tons of work. Everyone gets stuck in the elevators every day and the County does nothing. The property manager and the owner do NOTHING to keep it up cause they know they are selling it. Personally, I think the whole ‘homeless shelter story” is BS. Thats just a good cover story for the county.

  • JnA

    There are about 420 homeless persons in Arlington. $42 million divided by 420 = $100,000. Can a non-profit build a SRO apartment for $100,000? Can a non-profit build an apartment for a family of 4 for $400,000? Yes. After building homes for the homeless a small year around homelessness prevention program can be funded for $1 million per year.

    Funding a $42 million homeless shelter will only make homelessness a larger intractable problem.

    • Josh S

      If you say so….

    • BB

      ” will only make homelessness a larger intractable problem.”

      Those are the best kind to keep the the bureaucrats of Arlington County
      permanently employed !!

      • Hollywood

        This.

        • drax

          Opposing a county shelter for the homeless and then claiming the county wants to keep people homeless is pathetic.

    • CW

      First off, it’s a 7-story building. 2 stories will be used for the homeless shelter. So your number there is off by a factor of 3.5, probably even more so considering that the footprint of the building (the land itself) is the largest portion of the cost, and that would come with the territory irrespective of what is housed in the building.

      Secondly, the press release pretty clearly states that part of the project plan is to consolidate operations from the existing county-owned building at 1400 N. Uhle to allow that site to be redeveloped. There is value in that site which will be recouped by the county, presumably offsetting a nontrivial portion of the new acquisition.

      I am somewhat ambivalent on the homeless shelter, but I am strongly against cooking the numbers in any situation. Arguing on the basis of the facts in one thing, but just straight up lying is another.

      • Deadite

        What does the number of floors have to do with anything? Did you reply to the wrong comment? I’m confused.

        • CW

          Look at the original comment to which I am replying. It is by JnA. In that comment, this poster refers to a “$42 million dollar homeless shelter”. The $42 million is the cost of the whole building, and the renovations. Only two of the seven floors will be used as a homeless shelter. Therefore this poster’s math is like saying, if you buy a $500k house, you spent $500k on a sink. The County is getting more value than just a homeless shelter for this cost; however, the poster is conveniently ignoring that when s/he misrepresents the numbers by outright lying. What part of that don’t you understand?

          • Ted

            How much is spent on Arlington’s homeless every years and where is the homelessness infrastructure located? That is, where do the providers of services to the homeless have their offices and how much does that cost taxpayers? So, there is the shelter itself and all the non-profits, for-profits, government, and volunteers who serve the needs of the homeless. How much of that infrastructure will be located at 2020 14th Street?

  • Marie Antoinette

    I am still smarting from the lashing the GOP received, particularly after I predicated a landslide. I won’t do that again!

    I will predict only one other landslide. When it comes time for Tejada and the rest of the Board to come up for re-election. They all live in never-never land, where money (ours) endlessly grows on trees.

    • drax

      You didn’t learn your lesson about predicting landslides, huh?

  • sam the cat

    I hope the county purchases it and expands it to three times the current size. There are so many homeless who need to be put into a central location and its a long way from my home.

  • KalashniKEV

    I hope ARLnow continues to keep it’s readers up to date on this issue.

    The residents of this area will not tolerate this assault on the health and safety of our community. The loss in property value alone makes this completely unacceptable. We are prepared to oppose this vocally and violently, with legal action if need be.

    This will be the undoing of the current block of county “leaders.”

    • FBI

      Violently? OK let’s have those IP Adresses Arlnow please.

      • Impersonating A Federal Officer

        Hmmmm…..

        • FBI

          Who says I’m impersonating??

          • NSA

            We do.

    • drax

      Wow, threats of violence from a guy who names himself after a weapon. Who saw that coming?

      • KalashniKEV

        Not just me. Expect violent vocal opposition to this plan from everyone who lives in the area… and anyone with a sense of decency.

        • Olaf

          Rangers lead the way!

        • WeiQiang

          “… violent vocal opposition … from … anyone with a sense of decency.”

          wow.

          i knew i was missing something; guess it’s my sense of decency.

      • M1911

        There’s nothing wrong with naming yourself after a weapon.

        • drax

          No, nothing wrong with that. Just statistically more likely that someone who does would commit violence. Statistics!

    • Mick

      Property values are unrealized until you sell.

      Though perhaps the passing of Question 1 will allow homeowners to recover “loss of future potential what-if value,” the same way the upstanding by-the-boot-strap farmers of the Commonwealth will be able to sock it to the taxpayers for years and years of imaginary loss for the taking of 20 feet of farm land to widen a road.

      All politics are local, eh? And welfare is always what the other guy is getting.

      Buck up. Any more talk of “violent resistance” and I’ll forward your post to the Arlington police.

  • Paul

    On the County’s debt load–
    One of the “tax reform” ideas being bandied about is limiting or eliminating tax-deductibility of state and municipal bonds. That will increase the County’s borrowing costs as muni bonds become less desirable, regardless of the borrower’s credit rating. That’s on top of the slowing down of the federal gravy train. Even a 5% reduction in spending on government contracts will have a cascading effect on Arlington’s revenues. A prudent County Board would have already starting trimming its sails, but I did say “prudent,” so we all know how that’s going to turn out..

    • Wing Nut

      Send in the Cooch.

      • KalashniKEV

        +1000

    • hmmm

      Changes in tax code only impact future bonds, not a past issuance. The board report says the bonds are supposedly taxable, not tax exempt. In other words, tax code modifications won’t change anything. .

  • Ami

    I live a few blocks from the shelter / detox on Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial, and I’m happy to have shelter residents as my neighbors. I’ve purchased food / groceries for a few residents, and talking to them I’ve found they accept responsibility for their situation (and will honestly admit to struggling with addiction, mental illness, and abusive men), are embarrassed to need to ask for help, and are grateful for anything given to them.

    The nearby shelter is usually full / nearly-full and has to sometimes turn away potential residents, so I’m glad the County is going to add more shelter space. Courthouse is a good location because it is near the police / court, which is where a significant percentage of the residents are referred from (after being picked up for misdemeanors). As far as public safety, it is better that individuals with mental health / addiction problems can find a living situation where they will be supported by caseworkers to get treatment and take their meds rather than living on the streets / parks.

  • SMDC

    Anyone who lives in Courthouse through while the winter shelter is operational, knows exactly the problems this will bring year round to the neighborhood. It isn’t NIMBY. It’s simply that we deal with this every winter and those staying at the current emergency shelter drive up crime and hang out all day and night at the metro entrance. All of a sudden you see an increase in drug deals and crime… just ask CVS.

    Let’s not pretend the shelter won’t bring crime, you’re all blind if you throw that crap out.

    • KalashniKEV

      This is the part where they say, “Show me the statistical evidence, maaaaaaan…”

      *long toke, pedals away on bicycle*

    • drax

      Look up the definition of NIMBY.

      • SMDC

        NIMBY is rejecting something just for the sake of rejecting it, because of some imagined fear. Our problem with the shelter comes from witnessing what happens every single winter. We aren’t making it up.

        But, I’m sorry. Clearly Court House residents aren’t allowed to express concern about their neighborhood.

        • drax

          Nope.

          NIMBY means you want the benefits of something that is necessary, but not the negative impact. For instance, you might want a sewage treatment plant to serve you, but you want it built far from you. It has to be built, and you’re happy to have it built in someone else’s back yard, just not yours.

          And that’s not necessarily bad. I wouldn’t want lots of things in my backyard either. I don’t blame you for not wanting a shelter. I might not want one either. I don’t think we owe anyone a shelter.

          I just wouldn’t use certain hateful, prejudicial arguments to make my case.

        • KalashniKEV

          I think those on that side of the argument are crying “NIMBY” because they don’t want it in *their* backyard. It’s very telling.

          For those of us living in or near “Outhouse” who have already been victimized by this plague, this is nothing to joke around about.

          IF these people had any idea of what they were purchasing, they would be saying “Not in anyone’s backyard!”

          • drax

            You have a point – the term NIMBY as abused.

  • Mick

    Seems like a good idea to me, to get these poor folks off the streets and into some sort of dwelling.

    If built, I hope the county will ban anyone from feeding these souls off of the street. It would be better to have them come inside to get their food, maybe a shower and a bed too.

    It would seem better to get them inside and off of the streets. There could be some programs and help for these people.

    I respectfully disagree w/the poster who says we don’t own anyone a shelter. Even in medieval times, there were shelters and food provided.

    Today’s homeless are a challenge, many with drug abuse and mental issues.

    IMO we’ve gone to far in giving the most desperate of these folks the civil liberties/civil rights to die in the street rather than be committed and become wards of the state.

    As far as NIMBY goes, that’s to be expected. Not as glamorous a neighbor as this or that cupcake bakery or Thai restaurant, to be sure.

    • Ricardo

      Very interesting idea! Fund the shelter but also pass anti-vagrancy laws.

      • drax

        So require them to go to a (probably) taxpayer-funded shelter for a bed and food, or they’ll end up in a taxpayer-funded jail with a bed and food.

        • Mick

          I suppose that’s about where a zero-sum mind-set would land, yes.

      • Mick

        Basically yes,

        They will do better with some sort of structure (physical and pyschological).

        Who knows, there could be some programs, counseling, medical care.

        The food handouts on the street seem about as helpful as putting kibble out at dumps for stray cats.

        It’s woefully inadequate,

  • Simply Dusty

    I’m saddened by the lack of sympathy; perhaps that’s due to the poor reporting that encourages discussion like this. The current shelter in Courthouse can only operate when temperatures are below freezing. So, 33 degrees, and you’re on the street. The vast majority of those housed are working poor/children that cannot afford to leave the area and cannot afford housing, but HAVE JOBS.

    ArlNow, if you haven’t connected with A-SPAN yet (http://www.a-span.org) I encourage you to improve and balance your reporting. But something tells me that’s not your goal.

    • ARLnowandlater

      Is A-SPAN a “last resort” shelter like this one will be, open to those with drug and alcohol problems?

    • J

      Your reporting is NOT correct either.

      “The Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) in Arlington is a hypothermia shelter that is open from November 1 through March 31 every year.”

      “The EWS is open from 4 PM to 9 AM. On days when the temperature remains below freezing, the shelter stays open throughout the day.”

  • MJM

    Maybe I’m missing something, but given all of the meetings and already-scheduled “workshops” (Dec 5th…Dec 17th…Jan 14th…etc) — is the Board really being asked to approve this? It just sounds like it’s a foregone conclusion that it’s already been approved. So what is the meeting / request for?

    • J

      So they can ignore the community of tax payers and voters and pat themselves on the back.

      • MJM

        So it’s just a formality, then….and purely for show?

        What’s the point, why waste everyone’s time?

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