Springfield homeless shelter raises concerns

Local business owners say they're worried for customers' safety.

Posted: May 4, 2020 6:23 PM
Updated: May 5, 2020 6:34 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A temporary homeless shelter at the Memorial Building on A Street is causing concern for some area businesses.

The shelter's purpose is help stop the spread of COVID-19, but some businesses said they are worried for their customers' safety.

"I don't feel safe so I have to sit in my car until they leave," said certified public accountant Teresa Nohrenberg.

Nohrenberg works across the street from the shelter. She says she has seen the homeless loitering and using offensive profanity outside her store front on a regular basis.

"We've had people come right into our offices and we can't get them out," Nohrenberg said.

Nohrenberg is also concerned that she will lose business because of it.

"A lot of my customers are older people and if they don't feel safe coming here or if they hear things that are going on, they're not going to want to come here," Nohrenberg said. "They're going to go someplace else."

Carry It Forward, the organization in charge of the shelter, said a majority of those causing problems are people they can't house due to lack of space.

"We have to turn away dozens of people and there are no legal places for them to go at this point," Carry It Forward Springfield Director Kris McAlister said. "So any concerns about loitering and concerns about coming here for services are not part of what we are contracted to do."

McAlister also added thay there is a limit of 32 guests at the shelter and there are stritct requirements for those who are housed.

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