Salvation Army drops rezoning request

Salvation Army drops rezoning request
July 23
00:00 2015

In above photo: Salvation Army logo

City Council vote was scheduled for July 20

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

The Salvation Army of Winston-Salem has withdrawn its request to rezone 939 Cleveland Ave. to put a family homeless shelter there.

Winston-Salem City Council was scheduled to vote on the rezoning request during its meeting on Monday, July 20, but the organization had withdrawn its request by then.

During the July 20 meeting, East Ward Council Member Derwin Montgomery announced that The Salvation Army had withdrawn its request for the rezoning.

By unanimous vote, the rezoning was taken off the agenda.

The nonprofit was looking to purchase the daycare building from Greater Cleveland Christian Church and turn it into a facility to house homeless families made up of mostly single women and children.

Over the past months, members of the neighborhood expressed their displeasure with the rezoning.

During a press conference on Friday, July 17, Maj. James Allison, area commander of the organization, delivered a statement to the media officially withdrawing the request for rezoning.

“After much deliberation and with the concern for what is in the best interest of the homeless families, we have decided to pursue other options for the relocation of the shelter for women, families and children.”

The Salvation Army must move from its current location on Trade Street to separate families from those in the corrections programs.

The location on Cleveland Avenue would’ve helped accomplish that goal, but over the past months, members of the neighborhood and the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem expressed their displeasure with the rezoning.

“Throughout this process, we have respectfully listened to the concerns of many voices in the Cleveland Avenue community,” Allison said. “We agree with those who point out that the Cleveland Avenue community has been long overlooked.

“However, we do not believe the presence of a shelter for some of the most vulnerable members of our community would be a detriment to the neighborhood or a deterrent to economic development in the community,” Allison said.

The Center of Hope, located at 1255 Trade St., is over capacity to accommodate those families in need.

The Salvation Army must house some families in hotels.

The proposed shelter would be able to house 90 residents, while the current location only can hold 84.

Although the shelter will not be moved to the Cleveland Avenue community, Allison said the Salvation Army’s desires remain the same.

“The goal and desire of The Salvation Army remains constant: to serve our homeless neighbors in a way that honors their humanity,” Allison said. “We will not place shelter residents in a context where they are seen as a detriment to progress.”

According to Lucy Painter, board chairwoman of The Salvation Army, the organization only has $500,000 to spend on a building, and they have looked at other locations in the past, but haven’t been able to find anything that fits into its budget.

“We only have $500,000 to spend,” Paynter said. ”Both programs deserve their own separate space.”

During the press conference, Allison said he hope the entire community and city officials will help find a location for the shelter.

“Our neighbors who find themselves in a season of homelessness need the support of the entire Winston-Salem neighborhood. The Salvation Army is committed to the care, safety and well-being of our neighbors and requests the assistance of the entire community, and city leaders, to help us continue the search for the appropriate location for the continuance of this vital service within our city.”

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