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Homeless Shelter Flap

There is division among homeless advocates and those who want to clean up downtown Tallahassee. Backers of Frenchtown revitalization say they can't clean up the neighborhood unless the shelter moves out.

It's a room with more than a dozen beds and a broken air conditioner, but when shelter organizers asked for $60,000 to fix the air and finish the outdoor bathroom, the city said no.

“We were concerned that part of issue of not being funded for items we requested had to do with Frenchtown revitalization, which is a big effort for the city,” says Terry Beckhorn.

Terry Beckhorn says he's starting a new job on Monday, but he's lived at the shelter the last four months.

“A lot of people here are on hard times, just trying to come up out of circumstances they're in. if it wasn't for the place being here, never be able to,” Terry adds.

Regina Davis wants to revitalize Frenchtown and says that won't happen if the shelter stays put.

The shelter's board has said it's not willing to leave the Frenchtown location on Tennessee Street, but now for the first time, they say they're willing to do it if the city helps them move somewhere else downtown. Homeless people are going to be in the downtown area. The question is whether you have a shelter to provide for people or whether you don't have one and people are sleeping in parks, in hallways, in the woods around the city, but without some help, the shelter and its residents won't be going anywhere.

Wednesday night's City Commission meeting was the first time shelter advocates have agreed they might be open to another downtown location.


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