Dover Interfaith Relocation Proposal Draws Some Opposition from - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Interfaith Relocation Proposal Draws Some Opposition from Neighbors

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The former St. John's Lutheran School on Walker Road. The former St. John's Lutheran School on Walker Road.

DOVER, Del.- Homeowners in one west Dover neighborhood have voiced opposition to a potential relocation of a men's homeless shelter to a former school off Walker Road.

A civic association meeting on Monday for Bicentennial Village saw neighbors and stakeholders discuss the potential purchase of the former St. John's Lutheran School by Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, which is seeking a new location for its men's shelter off Forest Avenue. The nonprofit has signed an initial agreement with the owners of the school for $600,000.

Residents of Bicentennial Village have raised concern about potential increases in crime or the presence of homeless sex offender at the former school, which is located across the street from another facility operated by DIMH.

"I mean, what you're bringing is crime to the neighborhood," said Calvin Jeffrey, who lives in Bicentennial Village.

Jeanine Kleimo, the chairwoman for DIMH's board of directors, declined comment Friday on Monday's meeting but noted the organization is still working on the potential purchase.

But homeless advocates like Ennio Emmanuel, who runs Kent County Code Purple, a cold-weather shelter coordinating nonprofit, said DIMH cannot afford to not find a new location for its men's shelter.

"I think we have to be careful that we do not make property values more valuable than human life," he said.

Dover Planning Director Dave Hugg said DIMH would not require any additional input from city council under current zoning laws to open the shelter on Walker Road.

Councilman Ralph Taylor said neighbors' concerns deserve to be considered.

"Should we put that shelter at that particular location?" he said. "I don't think so. I can be pursuaded otherwise -- but right now, I don't think so."

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