The Victory Center Rescue Mission has been feeding, clothing and assisting the homeless since 1987. Now it wants to do so at what is now the Prince of Peace Parish office at 505 Ninth Ave. South — a location that would double the 32 beds it now has and will provide separate floors for men and women, increased office space, additional parking and a building that will be more energy efficient than the current building at 100 Sixth Ave. North.

Possible future plans include the creation of a learning center with computers to allow individuals to receive computer training and to learn how to compose resumes in order to obtain employment.

But those plans have been met with some resistance from residents living near the proposed new location — residents who object to having a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. The petition states that the neighbors believe their property values will decrease and that more than likely a few of the homeless men who will live at the shelter are sex offenders.

It would be only natural for residents to have concerns; after all, it will be a change to have a homeless shelter in the neighborhood. But we would like to point out that other such facilities offering supportive services have moved into residential neighborhoods with success.

Victory Center Executive Director Ray Giminez says there may be some misconceptions about the center within the public and the Victory Center board and staff want to address citizens’ concerns and answer any questions they may have. A meeting will be held at the current Victory Center site, 100 N. Sixth St., at 10 a.m. Sept. 8. He is inviting concerned citizens, including those who signed the petition, to attend the session to discuss the new Victory Center location.

We hope those who have concerns will attend and learn how such a facility will blend into their neighborhood — so that it can be a place where those who are less fortunate are one day able to get on their feet.

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