Easton Shelter A Need For County, Concern For Residents - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Easton Shelter A Need For County, Concern For Residents

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EASTON, Md. – By now, Tom Stork expected a new family to be living in his Easton home on Goldsborough Street, located in the town's historic district.

However, after word got out about a homeless shelter next door, plans quickly changed.

"My buyer bailed on me, he's got two small kids he said there's no way I can live next to a homeless shelter," says Stork.

Other residents have apparently seen similar instances.

"There are people who have backed out of contracts and have threatened to back out of contracts in the neighborhood," says Laura Bennett, also a Goldsborough Street resident. "There isn't any question that it's affecting our home values."

However, after years of searching, Talbot County Interfaith Shelter says the former bed and breakfast is the perfect opportunity for the first family shelter in the county. It's apparently already equipped for fire safety, is divided into bedrooms that each have a bathroom, and can serve about triple the amount that the shelter can currently assist. Officials say it will also expand their winter services to 365 days a year.

"Everything we found so far has needed a lot of construction to make it fit our needs," says Julie Lowe, executive director of the Talbot County Interfaith Shelter. "This is the first place we haven't needed to throw a penny at really for construction. There are camps in Easton where people are staying and people are living in cars and in sheds, this is very needed in this county."

Lowe says the shelter will continue their normal procedure of background checks on guests, and screen for drugs and alcohol.

"We have very tight security," says Lowe. "We've never had a problem, nothing's going to change there, we've been very safe, never had to call police for anything."

Residents say they do not dispute the need for the shelter, but even if they good neighbors, they worry about the long-term effects.

"In essence the damage has been done just by going through this, it's sort of put a stamp on this side of town, and any town that would consider doing this, what are they going to do next?" says Stork. "The shelter will be here in perpetuity."

Talbot County Interfaith Shelter says they are in need of donations and volunteers to help get the new shelter off the ground. For more information, visit their website.

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