Homeless centre not a good fit: Residents

On Friday, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa is reclaiming St. Alban’s Church on King Edward Ave.

Plans are in place to bring its homeless drop-in, Centre 454, back to the church basement.

The daytime program operated at the church from 1976 to 1999 then moved to Murray St., where it’s remained since.

The move should be completed by year end — to the dismay of some residents in the revitalized downtown neighbourhood.

Many are worried the centre will litter the area with drugs and vandalism.

They’ve officially formed a group called the Neighbours of St. Alban’s Association and are taking immediate action.

“We’re going to set up a neighbourhood watch so that we can monitor what happens in the streets surrounding Centre 454,” said Keith Nuthall.

“We think that having 250 homeless, destitute people in the community is likely to have an effect.”

Former St. Alban’s Rev. George Sinclair said he believes there’s a need to have ministry for the poor, however, relocating may not be the best move.

“Street people like to stay in their comfort zones. They’re not going to want to walk to all these brand new condominiums,” said Sinclair.

On Murray St., the centre is located steps from the Shepherds of Good Hope, where there’s a soup kitchen.

Centre 454 doesn’t provide meals.

“That’s a better place to serve them, but that’s now outside of our control,” said Sinclair.

Centre 454 executives have told the Sun they’ll work with the community to ease the transition and are looking forward to returning home.

Rev. Mark Whittall is leading worship at St. Alban’s starting July 3.

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/06/26/homeless-centre-not-a-good-fit-residents

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