Residents go to school to protest homeless shelter location

Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:37:04-04

Nick Taldone went up to every car he could, telling parents outside Chasco Elementary something they didn’t know anything about.

“Have you heard that they are going to be putting a homeless shelter on the other side of Ridge Road there?” he asked one parent.

“Yea they didn’t know it,” he said.

The group of residents from the nearby Crane’s Roost subdivision said they had no say in Pasco County's plan to convert the old Boys and Girls Club near Ridge Road into a shelter for homeless single adults.

There are two elementary schools within two miles, a shopping plaza next door and the Crane’s Roost neighborhood just down Little Road.

“We believe there is going to be a residual loitering of folks in this area, which is not appropriate for this vicinity for this school or the businesses that are close by here,” he said.

But supporters cite research they said shows arrests rates don’t go up near homeless shelters. And real estate values don’t go down.

They also said the homeless are already in this area of New Port Richey, and the shelter will help authorities keep tabs on them.

The goal is to house them temporarily and get them back on their feet.

“It’s the right thing to do. We want to give them a bed, give them a shower. Clean clothes, hot meals. We want to help them get jobs,” said Homeless Coalition of Pasco County CEO Raine Johns.

Those behind the shelter said they won’t turn anyone away. And won’t do background checks or drug tests. They also said this location won’t interfere with others in the area.

“This is not in a subdivision. As you can see this is a beautiful open space. We are completely surrounded. There is 10 acres of county property surrounding us,” said Johns.

Funding still has to be finalized and the the county commission still hasn't approved the location.

Pasco County is second in the state with more than 3000 homeless people.