A proposed shelter site in Joppa for Harford County's homeless was withdrawn yesterday in response to strong community opposition, likely restarting a search process that has been several years in the making.
Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United, a consortium that has sought a shelter site since the 1990s, announced its withdrawal last night at a community meeting at Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Edgewood. The group withdrew the proposal after witnessing the public display of opposition from both the community and the area's 7th District legislative delegation.
"I don't think the church folks recognized the depth of the opposition," said Pat McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican elected last month as a 7th District delegate, adding that if the group had moved ahead, the project "could have turned into a long, slow divisive battle."
Mary Chant, director of community services for Harford County, said, "It's disappointing to have to go back to the drawing board, but the thing that concerns [us] most is that FCCAU doesn't want to be an adversarial neighbor."
The legislators and community members pledged to help in the search for a new site.
"We're compassionate people and want to see that happen, but we don't want to see an existing residential community victimized to satisfied the aims of another group," said area resident Sharon Carlson.
The county is believed to be the only jurisdiction in the metropolitan area that has no permanent site for a shelter.