Plano Considers Plan for Homeless Shelter

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    A Collin County homeless shelter hopes to expand its services into East Plano.

    The city of Plano is reviewing an application to build a shelter for homeless families.

    The Samaritan Inn already operates a shelter in McKinney and offers services such as counseling, education and training.

    It currently houses 130 people, mostly families with children. Its clients are primarily people who've been unemployed a prolonged period of time.

    Every week, Inn workers and volunteers they turn away 15 to 30 people because they simply don't have any rooms left.

    Homeless Shelter Seeks to Build Plano Facility for Families

    [DFW] Homeless Shelter Seeks to Build Plano Facility for Families
    A Collin County homeless shelter hopes to expand its services into East Plano.

    "We're going to surround them (with) support, counseling, life-skills classes, vocational training and get them back out as independent productive members of the community," said Lynne Sipiora, spokeswoman for the Samaritan Inn.

    The organization has applied for the rezoning of a vacant green space near the intersection of 14th Street and Shiloh Road in Plano. It wants $700,000 in federal community block grant money from Plano to finance the purchase of the land and construction of the facility.

    The shelter would be smaller than the original in McKinney and would house only 80 people.

    "It would be a facility that is strictly for homeless families," Sipiora said.

    The proximity of the location to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit line is appealing to supporters because transportation is critical for clients to maintain jobs.

    Plano's City Council has been listening to proposals and discussing needs. But the city's zoning board must first approve a rezoning application for property that was designated for industrial use. But the area now more resembles more mixed-use with businesses, a church and apartments sharing the area around the intersection.

    Some business owners have openly questioned whether a shelter would attract problems. The Samaritan Inn says its clients aren't drug addicts or criminals, just families who need help.

    Should the area be rezoned, the City Council would still have to award the Samaritan Inn the money to buy the land.

    Plano is facing a multimillion dollar deficit and is trying to trim its budget. The City Council is not expected to reach a decision on the shelter before September.