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Board Approves Homeless Shelter Despite Neighbor Concerns

by ARLnow.com March 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm 1,388 145 Comments

2020 14th St. N. (photo via Google Maps)(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) The Arlington County Board on Saturday voted to approve a controversial use permit for the county’s new year-round Homeless Services Center in Courthouse.

The permit will allow the county and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network to run a year-round homeless shelter in the office building at 2020 14th Street N., which the county recently purchased. The building is located across the street from Arlington County Police headquarters and two blocks from the existing Emergency Winter Shelter, which closes from April 1 to Oct. 31.

Citing concerns primarily about crime, residents of the Woodbury Heights Condominium continued to voice opposition to the shelter, which will be located adjacent to their building. With approval of the use permit looking inevitable, condo residents unsuccessfully lobbied for a 24/7 security guard, and a prohibition on housing homeless individuals with a history of violent crime or sex offenses.

The Board agreed to a condition calling for a security guard from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, and agreed to some design changes intended to address neighbor concerns. That wasn’t enough for condo residents.

Sleeping quarters in Arlington County's emergency winter shelter“Why in heaven’s name would you cheap out… and cut way back on the security,” said Ken Robinson, president of the Woodbury Heights Condominium Association, in his remarks to the Board. “They have made some changes here that are very positive, but they have to do more to safeguard the community.”

“I will tell you, if something occurs and people come back and say ‘how did this happen’… and it comes out that the County Board decided to squeeze pennies and not have adequate security, you’re going to have a lot of negative publicity about Arlington County and its social policies,” Robinson added.

Along with speakers who opposed the homeless shelter, the Board also heard from A-SPAN and its supporters, including volunteers, formerly homeless clients of A-SPAN, faith leaders and state Sen. (and former County Board member) Barbara Favola.

“There’s no reason to delay this use permit,” Favola said. She called the proposed year-round shelter a “national model” that is the “economically smart thing to do” since, she said, it will actually save money compared to the societal cost of dealing with and caring for homeless individuals who sleep on the streets.

In a report to the Board, county staff argued that the new shelter is not the dire safety concern that residents make it out to be. The current Emergency Winter Shelter, staff says, has not resulted in any significant safety incidents for residents.

“The EWS does not have security cameras or a security guard,” staff wrote. “The EWS has operated one and a half blocks away from the proposed location for the Homeless Services Center for over 20 years with no significant problems for the surrounding area.”

“The proposed Homeless Services Center, operating as a dormitory use, will have less of an impact on the surrounding community than the current EWS because the HSC will be open 24/7 and will have the capacity to accommodate people waiting for a bed inside the facility rather than having them wait outside for the building,” staff wrote.

The new Homeless Services Center will be operated by A-SPAN and will consist of 50 permanent beds, 25 additional beds during the winter, and five medical beds. The center will also feature a dining area, administrative offices, program space and “comprehensive services aimed at getting clients into permanent housing.”

County Board members said they have heard and considered input from residents, but still voted unanimously for the use permit.

“Arlington has long needed a permanent, year-round, comprehensive Homeless Services Center,” Board Chairman Walter Tejada said in a statement. “This Center will provide integrated services with the goal of getting every person who comes through the door into permanent housing.”

With its vote, the Board also approved a window screen on the service alley side of the building, to provide privacy to both shelter and Woodbury residents, and a 24/7 community liaison phone number.

Still, the shelter will be open to those with mental problems and criminal histories, worrying many residents.

“The Center’s low barrier-high-expectation model has been proven to work with a population that includes persons who have serious physical or mental issues or face serious barriers to housing,” the county said in a press release. “Services such as case management, mental health and substance abuse treatment, benefit enrollment, employment, and life skills training will be provided by the Department of Human Services and non-profit partners.”

“The County has been working with neighboring residents and the broader community, and will continue to work with them to address concerns about security and other areas as this project moves forward,” Tejada said.

Following a renovation of the building, the new homeless shelter is expected to open in fall 2014. Including the $27.1 million purchase price of the building and costs associated with county offices that will be opening in the floors above the homeless service center, the entire project is expected to cost taxpayers $42 million over five years. The annual operating, maintenance, homeless programming and debt service costs of the building is projected at $2.5 million per year.The total cost of the building purchase, homeless shelter conversion

Photo via Google Maps

  • G Clifford Prout

    2020 14th Street N.

    Yea. Stick it to the Northies.

  • SA

    Incorrect. It’s 2020 14th Street NORTH.

  • Annie


    • kalashnikev

      How about not in anyone’s backyard? This will start a destabilizing chain reaction that will lead to more severe crimes and a decline in safety and quality of life for the Citizens of Arlington. It should have been a flat out non-starter in discussion.

      • Scott

        In the alternative to building a year-round homeless shelter, the county should instead have considered outlawing being poor and/ or homeless. It really is quite a downer for the rest of us.

      • drax

        But that’s where the homeless will end up sleeping WITHOUT a shelter – in your backyard.

        • kalashnikev

          Yeah… I can pretty much guarantee that’s not going to happen.

          • Rory

            You don’t have a back yard?

          • drax

            You’re going to keep a 24-hour vigil?

            Okay, he’ll move from your backyard to the front of your home, but on public property so you can’t bother him.

            Got the point now?

      • Arl1ngton

        These people will be on the streets if there is no shelter for them. It’s not like they won’t exist simply bc a shelter isn’t built. Giving them shelter helps to get them off of the streets, meaning at night they’ll be in there, and not hounding you at the metro. I think this shelter should probably be in another location, but the argument above is backwards…I’d rather help give these people at least a roof over their head and a warm meal so they have less incentive to commit crimes.

        • kalashnikev

          They will exist in DC or somewhere else. Part of developing and sustaining a “nice place” is creating an environment that is inhospitable to the undesirable element. Inviting 50 potentially mentally ill and substance abusing vagabonds to live on the public dole is NOT going to improve the health, safety, or quality of life in the community. Quite the opposite, in fact.

          • Arl1ngton

            And what if, perhaps, you were the “undesirable element”? It’s not only about improving your health, safety or quality of life, it’s also about improving it for the community as a whole, and for those that can’t afford to improve their own.

            Let’s think of this another way…suppose you were in an accident and suffered a mental disability. You can’t work, eventually you lose your home. You have no friends for financial support. You don’t do drugs, you don’t steal, you feel bad for having to seek assistance. Do you expect to be kicked out of your town or county now, and shuttled to the next one, only to be refused assistance there, all because you cannot provide for yourself? Should you receive no assistance whatsoever? Or do you hope that your government has at least the basic necessities required to help you survive, whether temporarily or permanently.

            You can’t simply execute or expel the sick and poor, much to your disappointment. Also, making a blanket statement that all homeless people are ill, drug abusers, etc, is ridiculous. I guess people should assume all gun owners are murderers too.

          • kalashnikev

            Who says I’m not an “undesirable element” as far as the County Board is concerned? 😉 They are doing their best to create an uncomfortable environment for me and my neighbors. Maybe this move is a passive attempt to drive people like me out?

            All joking aside, the way Communities create “nice places” isn’t by actively rounding up and expelling undesirables, it’s by creating policies that PROMOTE the health, safety, and prosperity rather than do HARM to it. It’s a passive way to improve the quality of life of an area that hurts no one.

            As far as your “What if?” I provide for myself and those in my care… it’s just a part of the values I was raised with. If that means I can’t live in North Arlington? Well, life sucks sometimes…

          • drax

            I would be dead serious about that. I’ve even stated here that given the choice of neighbor, I’d pick the homeless guy.

          • drax

            Throw them on the street and they’ll all go to DC and not be our problem any more. It’s like magic!

          • kalashnikev

            Throw them on the street? They’re already there.

            What will the mice eat if I don’t leave cookie crumbs under the bed? Where will they go? They just might go to a more hospitable environment. Perhaps a place that actually sprinkles cookie crumbs on purpose. It’s like Magic!

          • drax

            Um, so you’re saying the homeless only go where there are shelters, is that it?

          • kalashnikev

            If you build it, they will come.

          • Scott

            Homeless people are like mice under the bed.

  • kalashnikev

    We will not stop fighting this. This is a big NO GO.

    • drax

      Please outline the specific actions you will take to stop it.

      • OX4

        1. Post rant on message board
        2. ???
        3. Watch the shelter crumble!

        • Scott


    • Arlington Chris

      I don’t mean to be snarky, but how would you continue fighting this? Sounds like a done deal?

      • kalashnikev

        It’s not a done deal until 50 fine gents take up residence and start adding their “Vibrancy” to our community. Even then we will not stop fighting to get this place closed. I want the first Victim of the first Violent Crime to look Tejada in the eye and ask him “WHY?”

        Answers about the proximity to the Police HQ and stellar response time will not be accepted.

        • Scott

          Opposing logic and rational viewpoints will not be accepted.

        • drax

          We could take that statement, change a few words, and it could come right out of our history about 50 years ago when we were talking about desegregation.

  • JoseR

    The Board approved the full time homeless shelter on 14th street. Over
    50 people will be subsidized by the taxpayers. Between affordable
    housing and the homeless shelter Arlington County seems happy to take
    all of DCs derelicts. Be ready for more crime and harassment around the
    Courthouse area. Flushing $ away and raising taxes, thanks.

    I’ll add, the Board is so arrogant. The condo owns had reasonable recommendations.

    • kalashnikev

      Things are about to get “Vibrant.”

    • JP

      Courthouse, especially around the metro has gone down hill in the pasted six months. Homeless types and youth harassing people, an increase in vandalism, and an assault near the CVS, yet the Board has gone ahead and invited the problems of DC to the area.

      Since the area has lost its trendiness, 30 somethings are leaving Arlington for more trendy areas in DC and Bethesda.

      But does the Board care, nope!

      • DCBuff

        “Since the area has lost its trendiness, 30 somethings are leaving Arlington for more trendy areas in DC and Bethesda.”
        So, this has a silver lining after all.

        • novasteve

          we might get a real dive bar eventually!

          • novasteve

            It’ll be like 9th avenue in NY just north of penn station! so night and day from even stuff around 5th avenue at least in the late 1990s! the dive bars there were awesome! area so seedy!

          • drax

            You’re the one who always laments the loss of dive bars, steve.

          • novasteve

            Hey, i think that’s a positive that could come out of this! Not many positives, but it is one possible outcome of this stupid decision by the idiots we keep on voting for.

        • Red1

          The only silver lining is you having to pay higher taxes with them leaving. You’re so smart. You can pay the higher taxes while drinking beer at the dive bar.

          • kalashnikev

            Ironically, the Progressives that support this will be sipping PBR and wearing skinny jeans and thrift store clothes and talking about how “socially conscious” they are while the Bums will be down the block sipping Abbey Ale and eating Gourmet Pizza laughing their ***** off.

          • Scott

            Insert sweeping stereotype of all gun-toting, bible thumping, screw the homeless, conservatives retort >here<, ironically

          • drax

            In one case, that shoe fits pretty well.

          • JFB

            INSERT: Paying higher tax, since the homeless don’t pay taxes.

          • drax

            The shelter will provide gourmet pizza now? That’s your latest fantasy?

          • kalashnikev

            Go to Whole Foods tonight. There will be bums eating gourmet pizza in the bar area. One of them will be passed out on a stack of library books.

          • drax

            So homeless people sometimes buy pizza like everyone else?

            Is there a point in there somewhere?

          • kalashnikev

            Hey, I’m just saying that I saw a Bum eating gourmet pizza at a place I can barely afford to shop. If that’s not a powerful anecdote, I’m not sure what’s going to make it sink in for you…

          • Arl1ngton

            Oh dear, homeless people are eating pizza tonight?! Those one percenters spending $2.50 on a slice! Next they’ll be eating a $3 street vendor hot dog. This wasteful spending has got to stop!

          • It’s Me

            Yes, Kalashnikev…you are so right. It’s the poor people who are really the rich ones and the rich ones are merely duped into *thinking* they run the world when the secretly rich poor folks truly have the good life. What planet does your black little soul live on? The only gourmet pizza homeless people eat is out of a dumpster. Count your blessings and try to lend a hand to fix homelessness and poverty rather than simply offering these people your snark and your middle finger.

      • ArlRes

        “Since the area has lost its trendiness, 30 somethings are leaving Arlington for more trendy areas in DC and Bethesda.”

        Care to back that up? Particularly as Arlington County gained 559 new residents per month between 2010 and 2012. See: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18078/washington-growing-more-at-the-center-less-at-the-edges/

        • speonjosh

          Seriously. There will be no backing it up cause it’s just self-delusional nonsense.

          30 somethings move FROM DC TO Arlington, not the other way around….

          • SomeGuy

            And you can back that up, speonjosh? Or are your statements of “fact” beyond reproach?

        • Jeff

          To be fair, the linked study only looks at total population numbers rather than by age group. It could be all uncool 40-somethings moving in to replace the cool 30-somethings.

          • ARL

            Or the cool 30-somethings turning 40, and suddenly becoming uncool.

      • kalashnikev

        People who don’t live in the area don’t understand, but this neighborhood is absolutely under attack. This is a HUGE step in the wrong direction.

        • skeptical in courthouse

          ha, under attack. that’s a good one.

        • It’s me

          “under attack?” Oh the drama…soon will be living a real life “Escape from New York” sci-fi movie and a one-eyed Snake Plisken will need to save us all from the poor people, whackos and roving gangs. Oh the humanity…how will we survive, who will protect the children? Get your guns. Build your bunkers. Stock up on canned food and TP, the poor folk are a comin’. Cats living with dogs. Total mayhem.

          Listen to yourself. Get a grip. Come out in the warm sunshine. Take a deep breath. Everything will be ok.

  • Jeff

    $42M over 5 years for 50 permanent beds and 25 seasonal with operational costs of $2.5M? Wow. They could’ve purchased between 100 and 150 1 bedroom condos with metro access between Ballston and Rossly for the same price with about half of the operating costs. I realize there is far more that goes into these shelters, and using any sort of variation of purchasing condo units is no where near realistic, but still. Interesting (in my eyes) to put it in perspective.

    • squidgod

      It’s $42M to buy the building, renovate offices, move the staff, etc. The homeless shelter is only a fraction of that cost.

    • speonjosh

      As squidgod points out, this is an analytical failure.

      • Jeff

        It was not supposed to be an analysis saying whether or not it is “worth it.” Simply a “wow” factor that each bed will have an upfront cost of $560k and yearly maintenance of over $33k – even when counting all the seasonal beds. Condos, as I used as a relation to put the cost in perspective, are not staffed, monitored, etc.

        • Scott

          So you were just making the case that the county should have bought one-off condos in buildings interspersed through Arlington to house mentally ill homeless folks? That’s one way to liven up the condo board meetings

          • Jeff

            No, as clearly stated in my original post: “…using any sort of variation of purchasing condo units is no where near realistic…”

            I was putting the cost of the project in perspective by relating it to more tangible things that many people can relate to – the cost of conventional housing.

          • sheesh

            But again you’re completely ignoring the fact that the shelter is only a part of what the building is going to be used for, and yet you attribute the entire cost to the shelter.

          • Jeff

            Then provide better figures. What portion of the constantly quoted $42M in capital and $2.5M in O&M is attributed to the homeless shelter? Nothing I’ve read has indicated there is a NEED to move the other offices. If they’re moving offices simply because they had extra space in the same building as the homeless shelter and saw it as an opportunity, it could be easily argued that none of the non-shelter portion of the costs would not have been spent otherwise. Perhaps they could even justify the spending by saying there’s a reduction in O&M costs since they don’t need to lease the current office space any more.

          • Arl1ngton

            Looks like this board report states $5.7 million budgeted for the homeless shelter.


          • ARL

            Actually, Scott, the mentally ill do live in group homes and assisted living on their own throughout the county already. And they have a right to.

    • youngjeezy

      Wow, that’s crazy. They surely could’ve come up with better ways to spend taxpayer money. Like hanging gold chains off all lightposts.

  • bobbytiger

    “Board Approves Homeless Shelter Despite Neighbor Concerns”? Now, who could have seen that coming?

  • Wake up Arlington!!!

    “County Board Members said they have heard and considered input from residents, but still voted unanimously for the use permit.”

    Stop voting for these people!! The board does not answer to the resident’s concerns because they know they can continue to do whatever they want without fear of being defeated come election time. Regardless if you admit it or not, many of the residents who will complain or post on this site in opposition have and will continue to vote for these clowns year after year.

    And I can guarantee you if you requested a FOIA inquiry on the number of police and medical calls generated from the EWS, you would see that the “no significant problems” statement is unfounded…

    The only good thing about this 27million homeless facility is that the 20 county employees who have lost their jobs this year may have a nice place to stay when they can no longer afford their homes.

    • speonjosh

      You can “guarantee” it, huh? How about proving it?

    • drax

      WHY do they keep voting for these people? Because the voters are stupid? Because they only vote for the D next to their names? Because they don’t know who they are voting for because the ballot language is too complicated?

      Or maybe, just maybe, they simply disagree with you and they WANT the shelter and other things you don’t.

      Nah, couldn’t be that.

    • Jim Webster

      Board doesn’t respond to residents’ concerns? Where have you been? A number of us have been urging the county for the last 15 years to have a permanent, year-round shelter to replace the makeshift winter shelter that A-SPAN has been operating. It’s because of residents’ pressure that the board took such courageous action.

      • drax

        Whoa, someone from reality came here and broke the bubble.

  • Dm

    Eh, what’s another 2.5 million per year on the budget?

  • OX4

    ““Why in heaven’s name would you cheap out… and cut way back on the security”

    Ah yes…because I believe Jesus said in Matthew chapter 3 verse 30, “Keep thee filthy poor away from me, they are dangerous and stinky. I will donate for the homeless through thy church, as long as I don’t see them heathen ’round my back yard.”

    • Joe Hoya

      Jesus was very big on maintaining property values for condominiums.

    • JoshInBallston

      Why should Jesus ever be an authority (even sarcastically)? The dude may have washed the feet of the poor, but he wasn’t petitioning the Roman governor to have feetwashing at taxpayer expense. They would’ve crucified him for that.

      • ARL

        He was working on a level way above the Roman governor’s head.

    • novasteve

      Well, Matthew 10:36 will p robably come true in this homeless shelter.

  • Wayne LaPierre

    KEV will keep us safe.

  • John_Putnum

    All I can say to the Woodbury Heights Condominium owners is knock off $10-20K to your condo value. If the buyer knows what going on in the neighborhood, they’ll offer less. Thankfully, the real estate agent want to make a bigger commission, so they won’t say anything.

    The Board members aren’t worried about your finances, they made their money.

    • novasteve

      Sue the board for creating a nuisance.

      • Scott

        All the best to you with that approach. Those will surely be well spent efforts

    • DCBuff

      I seriously hope that the condo owners all appeal their real estate assessments to the Board of Equalization and demand $10-20K lower assessments. Not that it will get them anywhere, since that Board is a political pawn of the ArlCo Board. Or, join collectively and go past the BOE to circuit court.

    • Homeowner

      If you own in the surrounding blocks, you’ve still got time to get your act together and sell in the peak season. It’s time to dump ‘n run.

  • novasteve

    Reminder, every crime that results from this, personally hold the board accountable for. If a single life gets lost, a single rape occurs, may the board members be haunted till the day they die.

    • drax

      Enough, steve.

      Most rapists are not homeless.

      • kalashnikev

        No, as evidenced in our Crime Beat, they just have “No Fixed Address.”

        • drax

          No, most rapists have addresses, Kev.

          The only difference between you and other haters is your choice of group to hate.

        • Just the facts, Ma’am

          Wrong again. 75% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Unless the majority of rapes are homeless people raping other homeless people, you continue to just make stuff up. http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders

    • kalashnikev

      There will be Sexual Assaults as a result of this action. My jaw hit the floor the day I found multiple “violent” sex offenders listed at the same address one block away from my house and a few blocks away from the elementary school- then I realized it was ASPAN, and it all made sense.

      • what isn’t going to happen

        Its the end of the world. the sky is falling. run for your lives. there’s a wolf! wolf! I’m crying wolf

      • drax

        LOL. How many did you find? Did you count up how many offenders there are in the county with addresses, living in homes? No, of course you didn’t. You didn’t give a rat’s ass about them or the threat they pose to our children. Why? Because this isn’t about sex offenders for you. Stop pretending it is.

        • kalashnikev

          I’m not seeing the “LOL” in it, but it’s certainly in my interest to promote the health and safety of the neighborhood that I live in. I certainly can’t see any good reason to PAY to import crime from DC.

          • drax

            You don’t care about crime or sex offenders. If you did, you’d be worried about all the sex offenders around you who happen to have homes, who already live near you now. You are simply using that to fuel your hatred for the homeless.

          • kalashnikev

            I am, of course, concerned… I’m not giving them a paycheck though to sit around and do nothing. It’s a serious issue. Why would I PAY to import more of them???

  • novasteve

    I’m curious, wouldn’t it be cheaper for the homeless to stay in the the actual building where the county board operates out of? Why not put them there, and then insist the board member’s children have their daycare there too? I mean the board wouldn’t wish upon others what they wouldn’t be willing to deal with themselves, right?

    • drax

      Who is the board wishing the shelter on now? Is the shelter going in your building?

    • It’s not fair!!

      Seriously– That carries all the logic of a 12 yr old boy. My teacher can’t tell me what to do unless he’s willing to do the same; my boss can’t tell me what to do… The Board isn’t wishing anything upon anyone. They are making tough decisions that cannot please everyone.

    • @novasteve: Did you attend any of the community meetings and/or ArlCo Board Meetings when this issue was discussed so you could (1) learn about the shelter and its services or (2) make known your objections?

    • When they came for me

      NovaSteve, sounds eerily like you’d just as soon round up this vermin and load ’em into cattle cars to points unknown somewhere down the line…

  • TC

    The slide of Courthouse continues……

    • kalashnikev

      Soon to be called “Outhouse.”

      • novasteve

        I said that first!

  • JimPB

    The opposition of some who reside near the proposed (now approved) shelter should be considered, but not to the exclusion of the views of the tens of thousands of other ArlCo residents who want a community that cares for the less fortunate.

    How would I feel if a shelter for the homeless were proposed for near to my home? I would respond with benefit of experience. For several decades there was a shelter for the homeless several blocks from my home in Silver Spring. No problems. As in Maryland, I would advocate for a community liaison board so that there was a mechanism in place for taking concerns to the operators of the shelter (and relevant county units, e.g., the police, social services) for discussion and hopefully resolution.

    • skeptical in courthouse

      This is the most thoughtful comment to this issue I have read in months. Thanks for writing.

    • kalashnikev

      The community *has* spoken: This is a big NO GO.

      • Scott

        The democratically elected board has spoken. This is a go. But keep thinking that it’s not been officially approved and moving forward if that’s more comforting to you.

        • kalashnikev

          They can approve it all they want. The community won’t stand for it.

          • Scott

            What does that even mean though? You cannot say what you can do to stop it now that it has been formally approved by the Board.

          • kalashnikev

            It’s up to them if they want to move forward with this destructive plan. They WILL have to answer to the victims. They are probably brainstorming talking points in advance…

          • drax

            What have you done to stop sex offenders from being near the rest of us, like you want to do with the homeless, Kev? There are more sex offenders living in homes in the county than there are homeless, looking at the registry and the latest homeless survey.

            You don’t care about victims, and you don’t care about crime.

          • Scott

            It is up to them and it’s been decided to move forward with this plan. But what exactly are you going to do to ‘not stand for this’ –besides go on Arlnow and rant about it?

          • drax

            What exactly are you going to do, Kev?

  • Paul Casimir

    If this shelter were to be located in South Arlington, all of those 30 something aging yuppies in North Arlington wouldn’t care less; but since it’s in their neighborhood, they are squealing like stuck pigs. These people claim to be so compasionate and scream their “progressive values” whenever they get a chance, except when it affects their property values. Phonies and hypocrites.

    • ARL

      You can’t just make up random people who you say believe something and then assign other random beliefs to them. And then you lump them in with everyone else who shares their views on some issues, assigning them to others. You’re making massive assumptions about ideology and geography that you simply can’t know.

      That’s lame. It’s just as lame as blaming the homeless for crime or whatever.

      It’s called generalization,or prejudice, and it’s the root of bigotry. You cannot judge individuals by their membership in a group. It’s just plain wrong. Everyone stop, please.

      • Paul Casimir

        Aha! A response from one of the phonies or one of the hypocrites. Try refuting my statement rather than spewing outraged ramblings totally off the point. And you will not stop me or anybody else from expressing a view, just because you don’t like or agree with it, mr(s) progressive.

        • ARL

          Wow, Paul, you’re worse than I thought. You really are a massive logic fail. And that’s really sad, because your thinking is typical, and it’s a reason we have such a broken political system. I tried to explain it, but you apparently can’t even fathom the idea, so I won’t bother trying.

          A for refuting your statement? No. You prove it. Go out and do a poll of every single “progressive” and find out what they think about the shelter. That, or stop defaming people and putting words in their mouths simply because you flunked, or more likely never took, Logic 101.

          • Virginia^2

            It’s pretty clear that he’s trolling, since he characterized as “spewing outraged ramblings” a call for evaluating people on an individual basis.

            For what it’s worth, I agree that Paul’s thinking seems to typify the “all or nothing” party platform support that dominates American political debate. Apparently, if you are “progressive” on one particular issue in Arlington, then you must also side with the County Board in every other issue, and agree with the manner in which they act, even if against your rational self-interest.

    • Virginia^2

      Let’s say (solely for argument’s sake, I make no representation as to whether these costs actually exist) that proximity of one’s home to a shelter decreases property value by $X, and imposes a safety risk of $Y. Sure, you feel bad when you drive by panhandlers, but your kid’s classroom is an overcrowded trailer, so you’d prefer that the county allocate less than $Z (from your share of taxes) to address homelessness.

      Well, if you care about the homeless at all, then you must support the Board’s plan, without reservation, at the cost to you of $(X+Y+Z). Even though everyone else in the county only has to spend $Z, you’re a phony and a hypocrite if you complain. After all, somebody’s gotta pay for it, and you DID say that you were “progressive.”

      Wait, you say that your views on some issues are more progressive* than on others? Nope, sorry – that’s phony and hypocrite talk. Go ahead and visit ARLnow to receive your phony/hypocrite badge of shame from anonymous internet users, none of which would ever even think to place a modicum of self-interest above the greater good*.

      *as determined by the Board

  • There’s nothing worse than when the presence of yucky people brings down arbitrary property values. You know, Jonathan Swift thought up a good method to get rid of such burdens on society.

  • Ellena

    Thank goodness that the County Board and many Arlingtonians are showing compassion. We are fortunate to live in a county with an abundance of services for so many of us, and it is wonderful that it’s being extended to the least fortunate. I work near the current shelter and have never felt threatened or in danger from any of the residents. We all have to put up with neighbors and behaviors we find annoying or dangerous or that bring down our property values. It’s the price we pay for living in a community. Feeding and housing homeless people is a community value and I am so gratified that Arlington is embracing it.

  • Brian Boru

    I’m sorry, but reading KalishnaKev’s comments below has really improved my day. His impotent rage at the ‘progressive’ filth who dared to build a homeless shelter in his beloved* county has just been cracking me up.

    *I’m pretty sure he hates it here.

    • kalashnikev

      If you lived near the shelter, you’d be hating it too. More so if you owned property…

      I’m guessing neither is true in your case.

      • Brian Boru

        No, you are right. I don’t live near there, I live in Shirlington. But I actually don’t want the shelter built in Courthouse either, i’ve had run ins with bums in that area before. They should build a huge one in SE

        I was having a bad day and just got some enjoyment in seeing someone who had a worse day than me.

        • kalashnikev

          Thank you for your honesty.

        • drax

          Yes, thanks for honestly noting that you want someone else to deal with the problem. That makes you a classic NIMBY.

  • Dano789

    A security guard until midnight should be fine. No crime ever occurs after midnight.

  • Avila

    New York has no shelters near Park and 70th. DC has no shelters in the heart of Georgetown. These are urban centers which have decades more experience than does Arlington. Why does Arlington presume to be so brilliant as to be the first to put a homeless shelter in the middle of the best real estate in the jurisdiction? It makes no sense. The real estate is multiples more expensive than it would be in other parts of the county. The area is key to commerce, pedestrian livability, and a burgeoning office market. The shelter should be in a part of the county in which it would create fewer problems. Once the residents are rehabilitated and have income, they can come to Courthouse as contributing members of society.

    • Please continue

      Is it your understanding that Courthouse is some very posh exclusive area comparable to NYC & residential Georgetown? Really? How will “until the residents are rehabilitated and have income” rule be enforced to keep the poor people out of Courthouse?

      • Avila

        Relative to the County of Arlington, the per square foot value of the residential real estate in Courthouse makes it our “posh” area. I am not proposing a rule on their presence. My point was that the shelter should be elsewhere and the rehabilitated former residents can come enjoy Courthouse when they are paying their own rent and can afford to lease or buy in Courthouse.

        • JohnB

          Homeless people probably don’t have cars. How are they supposed to get around to job interviews so they can get back on their feet if they don’t have pedestrian access to transit?

        • Please continue

          Let’s get specific– where exactly should the homeless people be banished to until they can show you a paystub?

        • kalashnikev

          Clarendon is our “posh” area. Courthouse has been singled out, and is now in the sights of the County Board to be “pushed under” until it becomes Ballston East. We can not allow this to happen.

          • Scott

            We must go on Internet comment boards and say that we will not stand for this. Then as a result they will not add the year round shelter.

  • Make them regret it

    Residents close to this shelter should all dispute their tax assessments, and ask that the decrease in property value be taken into account. Further, once this shelter opens, anyone living nearby who feels the least bit threatened or uncomfortable due to people staying at the shelter should call the county police immediately. If they want to make the nonsense decision to put a homeless shelter in one of the nicer areas of the county (when there are many better locations for such a thing), the county needs to pay through decreases in tax revenue and increased police costs.

  • ByeByeDemsinArl

    Theres a homeless lady that walks up and down Wilson Blvd. between Four Courts and (the former) Ray’s hellburger. Her glasses are the same ones my mom wore in 1985, but three times as thick. She likes to smoke cigarette butts that she picks off the ground and out of trash cans. She likes to mumble. Sometimes she stops and stares endlessly. She likes picking things out of trash cans.
    Ive lived here three years and she still does the walk.

    Great to know we are now going to provide a (free for her) shelter that will also provide (free for her) food. Wonder how long she will stay at the shelter? I put money on well over three years.

    I pack heat because of these homeless people. You have NO idea what they are thinking and it is downright scary walking by one who decides to scream and yell at you in your face. THIS HAS TO STOP.

    • Arlington ignores taxpayers

      I agree about the nuisance the many homeless in Courthouse already pose to local residents. On Sunday morning, a mentally ill man harrassed me as I waited for the 38B bus. He continued to yell in my face about Lithuania’s socialist democracy despite my initial attempts to ignore him, followed by my plea to stop yelling. ugh!

      • Call the police

        Did you call the police to report the crime?

      • ARL

        Almost like Prague.

      • ARL

        Many homeless people are indeed mentally ill.

        Behavior like that shouldn’t be tolerated. But you realize that he’s not entirely capable of controlling himself, so anyone who simply expects that will be disappointed. He needs treatment, and support (help with life, like a temporary place to live) or he’s going to continue to be a problem. And he’s not going to just go away because of some shelter either.

        And not a single person on this board are immune to mental illness. You could all end up just like him – every one of you. Severe mental illness can strike anyone at any time.

    • drax

      Maybe we should, like, get them off the street and into a place we can get them treatment and stabilize them and maybe get them back into a home and a job.


    • Joe Hoya

      I’m glad you carry a gun to defend yourself against old homeless ladies.

    • OX4

      This is sarcasm, right? You’re honestly that scared of homeless people?

    • When they came for me

      Hmm. She eats out of garbage cans. She’s mentally ill. She mumbles. She wears glasses like your mom. So you think we should scorn her. Heap anger at her. Pack heat to defend against her (who since Miami Vice in 1985 actually says, “pack heat” btw?) Gasp, you have no idea what she is thinking! We’ll you make clear to us all what you are thinking. Sounds like you just want to round ’em up and put them on cattle cars to points unknown down the line. Where did we stray from our humanity, people?

    • kalashnikev

      If something doesn’t look right, it usually isn’t.

  • Michelle Smithe

    That’s not cool at all. I’d be super p!ssed off if I lived around there. This ain’t DC.


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