Concern Over Possible BInghamton Homeless Shelter

By Jessica Light

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 13, 2007 at 7:39 PM EDT

A new shelter in Binghamton would give the homeless another way out of the cold.

But not everyone agrees on where that shelter should open

This building on Whitney Avenue in Binghamton could become a homeless shelter.

32 beds for men who are trying to get off the streets and back on their feet.

"Our goal is to actually have them there for a while for 6 months to possibly a year and then move them into an apartment somewhere in the community," says Corey Kociela of Rescue Mission.

Rescue Mission, acharity organization, would run the shelter.

It's based in Syracuse but already has a Thrift Store in Binghamton.

It's hard to imagine being left out in the cold on a day like today, but because these houses are so close to the proposed site, neighbors in this area say that building is not the right place for a homeless shelter.

" It's not that I don't have sympathy for these people but would you like a homeless shelter 3 doors down from your house?" says Joyce Rosati of Binghamton.

The area is zoned industrial, so Rescue Mission had to get approval to open shelter.

Some neighbors compiled information and took their concerns to the Binghamton Zoning Board.

It still approved the project last week.

Rescue Mission wants people to understand homeless people are not necessarily dangerous.

"That's the stereotype. A homeless individual can be anybody. You and I can be homeless. Sometimes we're just a pay check away," says Kociela.

Kociela says the shelter will be fully staffed and well lit.

Binghamton Police will patrol the area.

But Rosati is still worried about children and property values.

"All this talk about protecting neighbors and protecting neighborhoods, protecting children. But not this neighborhood and not these children obviously," says Rosati.

Rescue Mission says it's trying to work with neighbors to make everyone is happy.

But Rosati says they won't be happy unless this project is stopped.

The Binghamton Planning Committee still has to review and approve the site plan.

Then Rescue Mission can seek permits to start renovations on the building.

It hopes to have the shelter up and running early next summer.

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