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Moving men's shelter spurs meeting

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Community members are invited to city hall Monday, Jan. 6 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the new location for the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, a nonprofit men’s homeless shelter.

City council members and leaders of Dover Interfaith and the Downtown Dover Partnership will provide information and allow the public to share questions and concerns about its potential location on Walker Road.

The shelter is now near the Duncan Center at the corner of Forest Street and Railroad Avenue, a property owned by the Downtown Dover Partnership. In the spring, DDP announced they would not renew the lease, but they would help the shelter find a new location.

Dover Interfaith has proposed the former St. John’s Lutheran School on Walker Road, which backs up to the Bicentennial Village neighborhood.

Several neighbors have called and emailed 1st District councilmembers Tanner Polce and Matt Lindell with concerns about safety. They mostly seem to be concerned that Dover Interfaith serves registered sex offenders, Polce said.

“They really don’t have a concern about having transitional housing or a shelter in the area; it’s more so the registered sex offenders,” he said, adding that he hopes the town hall will lead to potential solutions.

Representatives will give insight into why the Walker Road property seems to be a good fit, such as the flexibility of many rooms and an onsite kitchen.

Members of the public will have two minutes each to give comments and ask questions. While city council does not have the authority to deny Dover Interfaith’s decision to move to this location, Polce said the town hall can help inform the shelter and community.

“The goal is to have a respectful conversation,” he said. “We will be bringing folks from Dover Interfaith together with the community. We’re hoping for a respectful dialogue that provides education to all parties involved. And this education will hopefully better inform decision-making going forward.”