VIRGINIA

Moving Arlington homeless shelter has new neighbors outraged

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Arlington County plans to move one of its homeless shelters.

The future location, on 14th Street, would stay open longer, with new facilities.

But it has sparked outrage among neighbors.

For three years, Fred Schwartz has lived in the streets. He sleeps where he can, sometimes in a shelter, but more often like last night, outside in the cold and rain.

“I'm very concerned with where I'm gonna be when I'm 65 years old,” he says. “Where i'm gonna be tonight.”

Crowding, he says, has made it difficult to get in. But Arlington County plans to move its emergency shelter into a building on 14th Street North. Unlike its predecessor, it will stay open all-year-round and for more of the day.

“The more rest, the more food you have, the more energy you have to go on,” Schwartz says.

But those who live next door fear it will decrease their property values.

“We have estimates that you're talking between five and 20 percent losses over say two or three years,” says Kenneth Robinson, a neighbor.

But the county says it has had no significant problems with the shelter in the past, and it does not expect home values to plummet.

“We have no evidence that it over time impacts property values,” says Marsha Allgeier, Arlington Deputy County Manager.

The county says the new shelter will improve services not just for the homeless but for the community -- by moving them off the streets.

Neighbors will fight the proposal at a hearing Tuesday night.

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