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Homeless Shelter Coming to Ashburn - Meeting Oct.23

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by CdnJess, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    If you ask me, the real reason for the location is $$$. It will be surrounded by some of the most affluent communities in Loudoun.

    I bet some people (politicians, developers...) look at eastern Loudoun as one big "collection plate".
     
  2. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    Flynnibus' comments are good questions to be raised. I read and posted those articles so that we could have some background on 1) what the center may provide to people going there, and 2) the struggle GSA has had trying to find a location that meets the need.

    It's a true shame that the GSA has experienced so many roadblocks to finding a place to offer their services in Leesburg. People don't want a shelter or day center near their homes and business owners don't want it near their businesses. I'm guessing that if the GSA could find space available in Leesburg close to where the need is they would have set up shop there. Now that they will be in Ashburn, they can provide services but still have an issue of getting the services to the needy and the needy to the services. That isn't fair to the GSA and it isn't fair to the homeless/needy.

    I don't mean this to sound like I'm blaming the people of Leesburg, since in any town it's probably the same thing, but somebody should step up and offer space in a location that is conducive to getting the help for the people where they are. The Lucketts location seems to be functionable but hardly ideal, according to GSA sources.

    If the spot on Ashburn Road was the best of the worst locations GSA had to choose from then that's pretty sad because I'm sure they recognize that it isn't the best location to serve their clientele.
     
  3. merky1

    merky1 Member

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    I find it odd, that Ashburn, with the worst traffic in the area, is a more accessible location than Lucketts. Especially since they are busing people from other areas to this location. It has nothing to do with the facility, it is more a question of feasability. Also, what is the real estate rate difference between there and Ashburn? They've got to be sacrificing a huge portion of their budget to make this "service" available.
     
  4. Lee

    Lee Permanent Vacation

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    Re: Bad Experience w/ Local Dr.

    It is about where the jobs are for these people.

    The largest concentration of flex and industrial in the county is only a few miles away. These are the kind of jobs the ex cons and homeless can get very easily, without creating a stir in the workplace. Again because of my little brother-in-law I know this first hand. He can give you all quite an education on what it is like trying to work live and re-enter the real world and trying to stay out of trouble. As I said before everytime your children are going over to these flex places for swimming karate etc. there could possibly be ex cons and homeless working very close by yet nobody complains about that.


    Lee j
     
  5. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Saturday, October 27th, 2007

    Dear Friends:

    The past week has witnessed much email traffic and discussion about our facility being built in Ashburn. We feel compelled to write to you and ask for your immediate understanding, help, guidance and prayers. It’s time to match the misinformation that is circulating with the facts and with a balanced viewpoint.

    There are two basic claims that are being made that we feel compelled to immediately dispel: the notion that this will be an overnight shelter or drop-in center; and the idea that the facility’s plan and building has been kept under wraps.

    First of all, the building in Ashburn will be a facility, not a shelter. To repeat: it will not be a shelter, nor was it ever planned to be one. The office hours of operation will be 9am to 5pm . It will not be a daytime drop-in facility either, but it will – when needed - serve families and women in supervised visits with information and counseling about housing issues in Loudoun. It will remain simply an administrative office and a thrift store. Because the drop in center capability is still sorely needed in the County, we are in active conversations with County officials as to how the critical need for the drop-in center can continue at a different location – and we’re very hopeful that the County will be supportive and will cooperate and manage this as necessary.

    Second, members of the GSA began outreach to the Ashburn community about this facility – and media coverage took place - in the spring of 2007. We have spoken to – and met with - the Board of Supervisors - including Supervisor Lori Waters and members of the County government – many times. We have notified local HOAs in the area. We have met with citizens. We received an public easement from Ashburn Village . We have applied for, and received all the proper permits and zoning from the County. We applied for and received site plan approval with the County. And we have met with (and prayed with) no fewer than nine pastors in Ashburn to make them aware of our plans. As a non-profit with very limited resources and time, we’ve worked very hard to be open, transparent, straightforward, and truthful.

    The GSA is the largest and oldest provider of services to the homeless in the County. It has a 24-year old track record of successfully, responsibly, and compassionately caring for those who need shelter in our community. And we have a record that shows care and concern for the overall safety of others living in our community as well. We have a lot to say about the facility and why its needed, as well as the overall issues of compassion, and planning smartly to serve the current and future needs of our society here in Loudoun. The GSA plans on updating you more in the coming days. And we’re going to do a better job in the coming week of answering your questions and concerns. We are hopeful that all Ashburn residents can help the Good Shepherd Alliance succeed in completing our mission of helping families and women in need.

    We look forward to your support, and to seeing you at a constructive and cooperative meeting on November 1st at 630pm at the Ashburn Elementary School .

    In His service,

    Joy Trickett Lyle Warner
    Board Chair, Good Shepherd Alliance Executive Director, Good Shepherd Alliance
     
  6. foodie

    foodie New Member

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    AFGM and others--

    Thanks for posting this information.

    Have a good weekend--

    Foodie:)
     
  7. deroxse

    deroxse New Member

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    I grew up in Loudoun, I've been here 23 years, before most of your neighborhoods were even thought of and I don't agree with the homeless shelter coming to Ashburn. Yeah, it's unfortunate when people fall on hard times and yeah homeless people are rare to see but they do exist in this county, but that does not mean this suburb needs to set up shop to invite everyone with a problem. You can look at other areas with homeless shelters, drug rehabs, ect and you can also notice the steady increase in crime.
     
  8. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Maybe GSA should have persued corrections with their 'media outreach' because they seem to be generating more confusion then clarification.

    Because what the Post is publishing (as recent as Oct 25th http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/23/AR2007102302800.html) is that it WOULD be a drop-in facility - contrary to his letter - which uses conflicting terms.

    And he's quoted in the Loudoun Mirror as
    Or in the connection as
    While their latest email states
    Isn't the need all the time due to the lack of facilities in Loudoun?

    And there are concerns beyond his two points - which have been brought up here, the overnight stays at facilities that aren't shelters.

    Articles posted for upwards of 6 months that haven't been corrected?? Sorry, the math doesn't add up.

    When they are sending mixed messages - what do they expect? How is it every newspaper quotes the same guy giving the same messaging 3-4 times - are they all not understanding the same guy multiple times? And he's done nothing about it? Come on...
     
  9. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Steve,

    The letter I posted was just produced after the articles you mention.

     
  10. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    I know - given the age of all the articles stating the same thing - don't you think their 'media outreach' would have had time to correct any misinformation and misquotes?

    Instead 5 months later we have the same information published again - and now we get a letter from GSA stating otherwise? A letter that does not address the largest media publication in the area posting (multiple times) information specifically to the contrary?

    Color me... not convinced.

    Even you outlined detailed space allocations. Were you mislead as well?

    And people wonder why there is confusion around the place??
     
  11. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Steve,

    No doubt this organization is not a PR wiz team. I stopped by their yesterday and spent time meeting some of the people involved. To be frank, they are not the best at marketing what they do. What I can tell you is each of them is passionate about helping the needy and are very passionate about what they do.

    One thing I learned was that the major focus of the Ashburn Facility is for woman and children. That is in their mission statement.

    I wouldn't expect a great deal of "high quality" PR from them. It's not in their nature to spin their own story. They just want to work hard to help folks in need.

    For me, I'll give them a break for not being the best at PR. BTW, I confirmed the space allocations that I mentioned earlier, in fact, I walked the site to see where everything was.

    So, your conclusion is correct, there is confusion about the site. It is a combination of rumor and fear mongering from those who are against this, and PR not being a core competency of those that run the Center for Hope.
     
  12. Robert.Hamilton

    Robert.Hamilton New Member

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    No doubt this organization is not a PR wiz team. I stopped by their yesterday and spent time meeting some of the people involved. To be frank, they are not the best at marketing what they do. What I can tell you is each of them is passionate about helping the needy and are very passionate about what they do.

    It is that very passion that led them to continuously break zoning laws at every other location they have run and this puts the surrounding residence and schools in danger.
    One thing I learned was that the major focus of the Ashburn Facility is for woman and children. That is in their mission statement.

    This is exactly this type of deceptive communication the residences of Ashburn are complaining about. You are putting out this feel good information that it is for women and children but they have every intention to accept men also.

    THEY WILL ALLOW MEN TO USE THE SHELTER!!!!!!!

    I wouldn't expect a great deal of "high quality" PR from them. It's not in their nature to spin their own story. They just want to work hard to help folks in need.

    Bob Ohnieser is a member of the GSA Board. He is a politician and a lawyer. He knows how to spin. Afgm, I am writing my posts assuming you are directly affiliated with the GSA and you posts are part of their PR spin machine. If you are not you have been spun.

    I believe they truly wish to help the homeless but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Their single-minded focus of helping the homeless is going to place the children in our neighborhood in danger. They need to move the shelter to an appropriate location.


    For me, I'll give them a break for not being the best at PR. BTW, I confirmed the space allocations that I mentioned earlier, in fact, I walked the site to see where everything was.

    Take some more time and confirm that they will take men in shelter. Then take some more time and confirm that a large percentage of homeless people are mentally ill, and chronic substance abusers. Mentally ill substance abusers should not be bussed into residential neighborhoods. There is no reason the shelter cannot provide these services at a location that will not place our children in danger.

    So, your conclusion is correct, there is confusion about the site.

    Because people like you post misinformation such as the shelter is mainly for women and children when they have no intention of turning away men.

    It is a combination of rumor and fear mongering from those who are against this,

    Acknowledging that there is risk involved when providing service to the homeless population is not fear mongering it is reality. If we could have an honest discussion about the realities of dealing with a homeless population, rather than the sugar coating in your posts we could mobilize the county to find an appropriate location to care for the homeless at a safe distance from our children.
     
  13. Silence Dogood99

    Silence Dogood99 New Member

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    I don't see anywhere where anyone said they would not be accepting men. I believe he wrote that helping women and children would be a major focus, but not the only focus. So I'd watch your own rhetoric and spin a bit.

    Having volunteered to work with non-profits before, I think your claims about its "PR spin machine" make them sounds like they are the republican or democratic party. I have no doubt they are trying to mollify citizen concern, but that's probably because certain people are becoming unhinged (clearing my throat) and spreading misinformation in the other direction.

    I'm not advocating one way or another, but the fact is that GSA has been helping this population for some time apparently. Maybe if the rest of us had jumped in before rather than merely protecting our interests, we could have been part of the solution earlier.
     
  14. Robert.Hamilton

    Robert.Hamilton New Member

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    I don't see anywhere where anyone said they would not be accepting men. I believe he wrote that helping women and children would be a major focus, but not the only focus. So I'd watch your own rhetoric and spin a bit.


    To emphasis women and children is spin. What exactly is their plan to focus on women and children, paint the walls pink? They either allow men in the shelter or they don’t. To claim they will focus on women and children is deceptive.

    Having volunteered to work with non-profits before, I think your claims about its "PR spin machine" make them sounds like they are the republican or democratic party. I have no doubt they are trying to mollify citizen concern, but that's probably because certain people are becoming unhinged (clearing my throat) and spreading misinformation in the other direction.


    Bob Ohneiser is a professional politician, lawyer and a member of the GSA board and if you are insinuating I have said anything less then truthful I challenge you to quote me.

    I'm not advocating one way or another, but the fact is that GSA has been helping this population for some time apparently. Maybe if the rest of us had jumped in before rather than merely protecting our interests, we could have been part of the solution earlier.


    My interests are my 2 children who I love immensely. I wish the GSA would show as much compassion toward them as they do the homeless, speak clearly and explain the risk involved with supporting the homeless then move the shelter to an appropriate location.

    I support GSA’s mission we need to help our homeless population but not at the risk of our children. We cannot go back in time but we can move forward and find a location that is good for the homeless and safe for our children.
     
  15. Silence Dogood99

    Silence Dogood99 New Member

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    I do hope you can do something about your anger, Robert. It is causing you to sound very unreasonable and "spin" a great deal yourself. I think it's perfectly reasonable to oppose the GSA location, but the venomous tone toward a non-profit is a bit disconcerting. Wow.

    You said that you support GSA's mission--how exactly have you supported it? Or do you just support moving "those people" away from our town?

    It appears this information was in the local papers back in June--I guess those of us who were so involved with GSA's mission somehow missed the information. By the way, I am sure GSA softpedaled the information about men being served (um, not sure where your obsession with men comes in, but NO ONE has said that men won't be treated there), but given the venomous response from the local community, I can see why.

    Hoping we can reach a solution that both helps those in need and protects our children.
     
  16. Lee

    Lee Permanent Vacation

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    This is going to be interesting because they have a building permit and broke ground. So a building is going to be built.

    They are also have the zoning to do what they are going to do.

    A lot of money is being spent to build and shelter the homeless, so I really don't know how this can be stopped, since they have gone thru the process and only now are people complaining. Where were you all when they went thru the planning process????? I am sure there were signs out for the public to participate at the meetings way back when. Personally I don't have a problem with it one way or another. But I think the public out cry at this late date is a too little too late if the way most projects have gone in this county in the past is any example. My guess way too much has gone into this to change anything much now.

    This is why people need to be aware what is planned and zoned for every piece of property around where they live. Or you all may be in for many more surprises. All this is public knowledge from day one. It is the little projects that can cause the most problems because they are not as closely watched by the public until it is too late.

    Lee j
     
  17. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Mr. Hamilton,

    I have absolutely no affiliation with the GSA. In fact, I don't even think I've donated anything to them. I tend to give everything I do to the Loudoun Abused Woman's Shelter.

    In fact, I think the first time I really noticed anything about the GSA was when Mark Gunderman was honored by the Board of Supervisors in January as the Loudoun County Citizen of the Year. Mr. Gunderman is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

    What I can tell you is that I think they have a very noble cause. Six months ago when I first heard they were coming into Ashburn, I took it upon myself to find out the truth. I called people, talked to people, did my own web research and then came to my own conclusions.

    Since this last minute explosion of interest, I have taken the time to re-affirm what I found out six months ago. This includes talking to additional people, numerous GSA officials, church members, and neighbors. I have even taken the time to walk through the facility, to include looking around the property. I have no worries about GSA becoming a neighbor within our community.

    Have you done as much? My impression is that you are reading the press clips of those that quickly jumped to a conclusion that this was not a good location.

    Here is something else I found out yesterday, did you know that the site has been in use since last spring? The thrift store has been operating on the site since then. Signs have been up, people have been shopping and clean up has been occurring. I think it is disingenuous to continue the myth that this was sprung on Ashburn, and was somehow covert in conception. Why didn't anyone with concerns stop by six months ago and make inquiries?

    Lee, you are right on point.
     
  18. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    So both sides are heard, here is the latest from those opposed to GSA:
    We are but the tip of the iceberg of a powerful upswell of Old Ashburn area residents who are for keeping our hometown a family-
    friendly, safe place to raise children and live our lives. Our elected officials hear us.

    We believe that the homeless should be helped. That help should be provided in an area where the homeless are.

    Your participation in signing the petition, along with more than 400 other residents, so far, will send a clear and strong message to our elected representatives.

    The Good Shepherd Alliance has also heard our voices. However, their response has been less than honest, and less than above board, much like the way they have dealt with this issue up till now.

    GSA continues to maintain that they will, "when needed," use the Old Ashburn offices to provide services to homeless.

    In preparation for the upcoming community meeting on Nov 1, at Ashburn Elementary School, a small group of us met tonight.

    Included in this group was Bill Alexander, a 24 year member of the U.S. Congress, and Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a resident of Ashburn Village. Bill has volunteered to act as legal liaison for our group.

    Bill suggested that we need to begin preparing to take legal action to stop the GSA, at least temporarily, while a review is undertaken of where we are, and how we got here.

    We would like to ask all concerned citizens to consider providing support to fund legal options. My family has pledged $100 to this fund. At the meeting this evening, we were able to obtain commitments for nearly $2,000.

    While legal action is probably not the route that is the most palatable, we need to be sure that the GSA is held accountable for their past actions, and that we have a clear roadmap for their future.

    If you would like to support the legal actions necessary to protect our community, please send a message to this group address, or for privacy send an email to: kent@cameronhalifax .com Please indicate the amount of money that you would like to contribute.

    When it comes time to pay our legal representative, we will collect checks from you, made out directly to the lawyer.

    The agenda for the 1 Nov meeting at Ashburn Elementary will consist of 15 minute presentations by:

    1. Loudoun County
    2. GSA
    3. Concerned Citizens

    followed by a question and answer session. The meeting is scheduled to run 2 hours.

    It is important that we make a strong show of support. Please consider attending. Please pass the word to your friends and neighbors. We need to continue to show our strong community commitment to solving this problem.

    Thanks very much for your caring and persistence for our community.​
     
  19. Silence Dogood99

    Silence Dogood99 New Member

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    I wonder what would happen if all the same residents took ALL of that time, energy and money...and put it into helping GSA achieve their mission...helping men, women and children...instead of giving it to an attorney?

    What if instead of getting angry and riled up, they took this as an opportunity to show their kids how to get involved and make a difference in their community...not resort to legal action against a non-profit charity?

    Just a thought.
     
  20. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Here's an interesting letter. I do not know Jim but this was located on a public forum so I hope he doesn't mind me placing it here.

    Hi, good question about how many folks are pro-center and where they live, so I figured I'd reply (still reading the whole set of msg threads - you all are pretty busy!).

    I live 2,245 feet away from the planned location, less than 1/2 mile, and my backyard opens right onto Ashburn road. Certainly not as close as a few of you, but certainly not "miles away". We're well within in walking distance, and many folks presently walk on the path behind our home on the way to the Ashburn Village Shopping Plaza or the Mills Pool/rec center, just down the road, or on the way to the old town shops and 7-11 strip mall (planned location for GSA).

    My family (wife, 9 and 4 year old boys) certainly look forward to welcoming the GSA and the folks that will be supported by this center. It is a blessed opportunity to serve others who are less fortunate than us, and we have the convienince to serve others right here in our "backyard" (literally!) . Who can ask for a better opportunity? ! We'll certainly be volunteering to help over there when they settle in. I guess we're more of the mindset of helping people directly, seems to us that the way to avert problems is to
    start out with a relatively positive mindset of "how to make this work", getting to know the actual people (not just rely on the stereotypes or boil it down to statistics), and opening our own vulnerability to folks who are MUCH less fortunate then us. But I'm sure there may be goodness in the intent to "help them, but not in my neighborhood" too. Just different approaches, all good, no big deal. We recently moved here, this past July, so I'm not a "long term" Ashburn resident. BUT, I think we paid more for my home than anyone who has been here for long - and therefore we have likely more to "lose" financially (if money is your most significant measure of importance than most, especially if you've been here for more than 5-
    6 years. So I guess that makes us the suckers in the crowd! Whatever. And my young kids play out back facing Ahsburn Road, up by the Gazebo (corner of Gloucester and Ashburn roads), or on our cul-de-sac every day (well, a bit less now that we finally got some rain - woo hoo!). My oldest goes to Ashburn Elementary. I applaud and appreciate the efforts by all here. There are many good points made and some that are a bit misguided, but thats ok. Nice to see a bit of democracy at work. We fully support the facility and GSA, at this location. We will to the end, and we are as convinved of our opinion and of the strength behind it as many of you are regarding yours. No reason to explain here, and I have no intention to pursuade any of you to change your opinion - you're certainly welcome to it! I understand, from talking to others, that we are not alone. And, I appreciate the open dialogue - its a healthy outlet for what appears to everyone to be a result of either misinformation of lack of information regarding this project. Lots of emotion here on this site, sprinkled with a bit of actual information, some numbers, more than enough fear, some hope,
    tons of concern, some fingerpointing, and all good opinions.

    I'll kindly ask that you be careful with your statistics, my research in this issue certainly doesn't mesh-up with all that some of you are posting (I'm deputy director of a cost analysis center that independently researches, analyzes, and supports a $100 Billion annual budget - we know a "little bit" about researching statistics, but maybe not as much as some folks here, it appears). Please note, I have no intention engage in a statistical "discussion" - in the case of this GSA project, the numbers are not important to me, whether they support a position or not (probably because I "do numbers and research" for a living!). If they are important to you,
    by all means, continue your research. Just be sure you know the context, relationships, parametrics, source diagnostics, validity and accuracy of what you discover. Good luck!

    I do have one request, and it goes out to folks on both sides of this issue - please refrain from the personal attacks, against each other as neighbors, against the GSA, against our elected officials and those running for election. It does no one any good, and serves little purpose but to call into question the sometimes valid credibility of the rest of your discussion/opinion. Lets remember ONE thing - REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME of this debate, when it is all done, we will all still be neighbors, all still see each other on the soccer field or at the pool or at the school events. No reason to make this difficult for each other, that completely misses the point of what we are ALL trying to accomplish, on either side of the issue.

    Our opinion and stance is completely opposite of the vocal majority expressed here. Despite the postulation that this forum expresses the opinions of only the most vocal group, please don't determine that this forum and the majority of its opinions speaks for all of Ashburn Village or ALL of the residents in close proximity to the facilty, or for that matter, that it speaks for a "majority" of the residents here. That would be incorrect.

    Thanks for the opportunity to write-in. Now I've got to go back and
    read the rest of these! Have a great weekend!

    Jim

    P.S. for my true Christian friends on either side of the issue,
    please take a minute to look at Matthew 25:31-46. Peace be with you!
    Thanks!
     

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