City Officials Question Reasoning Behind Homeless Center Delay
Published April 23rd, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry is facing scrutiny from Gainesville city officials over its decision to delay the opening of the long-talked about 'Empowerment Center' by another month.
In a letter sent to the agency on Tuesday, Assistant City Manager Fred Murry expressed unhappiness with the non-profit's decision to delay services at the future homeless center until June 1.
In the letter, Murry says the decision to delay the opening was never discussed with city officials. That's despite recent efforts by city staff to resolve certain obstacles the Coalition was facing ahead of the facility's opening.
One city commissioner says by delaying the opening, the Coalition is violating its contractual obligation to have the Center up and running by the original date of May 1.
"If the Coalition wasn't going to be ready for this date, as much effort as the city -- and the county -- has put into it, they should have kept us informed," said Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls.
But at least one other city commissioner disagrees, saying the Center should not open until the officials in charge of running it are sure that they are ready.
"Anybody that's ever opened a business or started a new venture, which quite frankly this is, realizes that things don't always work out on the schedule they're on," said Commissioner Todd Chase.
Theresa Lowe, executive director of the Coalition, told TV20 over the phone that the non-profit is doing all it can to get the Center up and running as soon as possible.
Lowe said she felt a little slighted by Murry's letter, and that she doesn't want the Center to open its doors before they're fully prepared.
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