Downtown Business Owners Complaining About Shelter

Some downtown business owners aren’t happy about having a homeless shelter downtown, Seth Rosen writes in today’s Daily Progress. Downtown Business Association co-chair Bob Stroh says that “[t]here are locations that would be more helpful to the community than locating it right smack in the middle of the most vibrant commercial district” in response to the months old news that movie director Tom Shadyac had purchased and donated the First Christian Church to serve as the COMPASS Day Haven shelter. Of course, it’s the downtown location that makes it so perfect, what with homeless people generally having to get around on foot. If the DBA has offered to donate millions of dollars in non-downtown real estate to COMPASS, that’s not mentioned in the article. Downtown police officer Casson Reynolds even digs up an old chestnut that good services for the homeless will make C’ville a magnet for the homeless, despite the fact that the local homeless population is far more likely to be local than, say, you. To Seth Rosen’s credit, he points this out.

But not all downtown merchants are grinches. Mary Loose DeViney, owner of Tuel Jewelers (disclosure: and a friend of mine) is happy about the shelter, telling the paper that “[w]e have bums to billionaires and they all walk the same bricks, as they should.” I can’t imagine what the DBA hopes to gain with this kvetching. It certainly can’t be goodwill.

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