Broadway businesses calling for homeless outreach facility to be moved, say it’s a threat to safety and welfare

Updated: Jan. 28, 2020 at 5:21 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Business owners are expressing their concern about the location of a homeless outreach center in Lubbock. It is a part of Open Door, a church located in the South Overton neighborhood, just south of Broadway Avenue.

Attorney Travis Ware’s office is located on Broadway Avenue. He said he is concerned about the safety and welfare of the businesses on Broadway.

“There is never a morning that I drive up here that there isn’t litter and trash in front of our building,” Ware said.

Ware said the presence of Open Door is diminishing the value of their properties.

Ware said helping the homeless is a noble thing.

“But, not here on Lubbock’s prime avenue,” Ware said.

Chad Wheeler, the CEO of Open Door, said blaming his organization would be like blaming a hospital for sick people being in the community.

“We’re not here because we’ve created the problem,” Wheeler said, “we’re here because we’re solving the problem.”

Ware said it is not just businesses on Broadway Avenue that have an issue.

“It’s all of these residents who live behind us who are finding people sleeping in their yards,” Ware said.

Alec Egan has lived in South Overton for three years.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice that there were homeless around,” Egan said.

He said he has noticed, though, how much better it has become.

“As groups like Open Door and some of the churches have found places for people to live, I think our neighborhood’s gotten a lot safer and I think that I’ve noticed a decrease,” Egan said.

Ware said the solution is to move the facility outside of town, but Wheeler said that is not on the table.

“In our view, segregating a class of people to a different part of town or outside of town, it’s historically been a very bad thing and that’s not, in our view, the solution,” Wheeler said.

“Moving a group like Open Door that’s doing so much good for our community away, I think is just going to reduce the access for the people that really need it,” Egan said.

The Congress of Neighborhood Associations and the Historic Overton Neighborhood will discuss Open Door at a meeting tomorrow. It will take place at 2122 18th street at 7:00 pm.

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