Shuttle may drive through Carroll Co. shelter impasse

October 30, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A shuttle van could be the vehicle to get through the impasse between the Carroll County Commissioners and the city of Westminster over a new location for the Safe Haven homeless shelter.

County and city officials were to meet today to discuss the shelter issue, which has been simmering since midsummer -- and erupting whenever a new site is proposed.

"I have no idea what's going to happen," said Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan, who sent a letter Tuesday to the commissioners suggesting the shuttle service.

The city would be willing to purchase a vehicle to transport shelter residents to and from the city to a site outside Westminster, and contribute toward its operating costs, Yowan wrote on behalf of himself and the council.

A shuttle would be acceptable, said Sylvia Canon, executive director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc. (HSP), a nonprofit agency that operates the shelter and other programs. She said she wasn't invited to the meeting today.

"I don't think that it's ideal," she said yesterday, "but at this point we have to go for the doughnut and not the hole. Whatever it takes to work it out. We need to get on with it. It's getting cold out there."

The human-services agency obtained a federal grant through the state and county to build an overnight facility because the property where the shelter is located on Stoner Avenue was purchased by Carroll County General Hospital in 1994.

State figures show that Safe Haven served 635 homeless people in the 1995-1996 fiscal year. The hospital has made no immediate plans for the property, and HSP continues to operate the shelter there.

Westminster officials were content with the previous plan to build a shelter near the existing facility and clung to that idea at first.

But in July, the County Commissioners noted objections from elderly residents near that planned site and announced plans to build a shelter near the County Office Building, off Center Street and Route 140. That site has come to be known as Crowltown.

Objections poured in from city residents and Greater Westminster Development Corp.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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