Missoula council imposes retroactive zoning conditions on shelters, soup kitchens

2013-09-10T05:50:00Z 2014-10-19T08:10:45Z Missoula council imposes retroactive zoning conditions on shelters, soup kitchens missoulian.com

The Union Gospel Mission faces retroactive rules on its plan to move a soup kitchen into a former bakery on Broadway after the Missoula City Council meeting on Monday night.

An hour and a half of impassioned testimony preceded the vote as Westside neighborhood residents complained the soup kitchen’s clients had made their homes unsafe, while mission supporters said they were helping people who had nowhere else to go. The council voted 10-1 to impose conditional zoning on homeless shelters, soup kitchens and related services in order to force negotiations that might cure some of those concerns.

But the interim ordinance can only last six months, after which the City Council must adopt a permanent version or see its zoning rules revert to their previous status. Although the city has the power to impose conditions like spacing, building style and landscaping on many kinds of commercial-area construction, it neglected to include private social service facilities like Union Gospel Mission in the law.

Soup kitchens and homeless shelters would be prohibited in residential areas under the temporary restrictions. The proposed site for the mission is in a commercial corridor, but just 20 feet from people’s homes.

Ward 6 Councilman Ed Childers tried to postpone the decision by to give more time to work out an agreement. He feared allowing the law to take effect before Union Gospel Mission filed its building permit in August was unfair and risked legal challenge.

But the council voted 8-3 to keep working on it Monday night, with only Childers, Ward 1’s Dave Strohmaier and Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins voting to delay. The full council then approved the temporary zoning rules 10-1, with only Childers opposed.

“Union Gospel Mission and the people who live in that area have a great opportunity to prove me wrong and prove they can come up with a solution, Childers said. “I’ll vote against the ordinance, but hope for the best and participate in the process.”

A heavy majority of speakers told the council of how homeless people hanging around the previous soup kitchen at Toole Avenue and Spruce Street increased crime, made them fear for their children’s safety and degraded a neighborhood that was unfairly burdened with other social services, such as the Poverello Center.

“Missoula has a homeless problem because of all the services we offer,” Cooper Street resident Doug Loskutoff testified. “All of Missoula’s citizens should share in the burden of this policy. When people label us as uncaring NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), they should remember Missoula’s homeless problem is already in our backyards.”

Union Gospel Mission executive director Candace Day testified she was very concerned about the fairness of the retroactive nature of the new rule. She also pleaded with the council to respect the group’s effort and said its members were trying to re-establish trust with the community.

“We don’t want to be an agency that serves handout after handout,” Day told the council members. “We have had to do some refocusing, because we’ve stepped away from accountability we wanted in place. But how do we get them (homeless people) off the street and into the community if we treat them like they’re invisible?”

Day declined to comment after the vote, saying she was exhausted after a day of travel before the meeting.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at rchaney@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(46) Comments

  1. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 11, 2013 5:33 pm
    Tell me where you live and I'll sit in front of your home and exercise my rights to freely express myself.
  2. Don't Care
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    Don't Care - September 11, 2013 7:40 am
    No I'm American and I want to keep this country free.
  3. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 9:15 pm
    @Don't Care- Yep, let's have free for all. I'd totally be okay with that.
  4. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 9:11 pm
    You are clueless.
  5. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 9:10 pm
    Yep, all those other shops can go bankrupt too for all I care. Next argument. Blatant violation of the golden rule. And yes, I have been inside, and?
  6. Don't Care
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    Don't Care - September 10, 2013 5:16 pm
    @Re-Made in Montana-What about women that wear perfume or men that wear cologne? By golly it make me nauseous every time I smell it. WE SHOULD BAN THEM FROM MISSOULA. Bums, loud music and perfume...lets get rid of them.

    Just because you don;t like or agree with something doesn;t mean it should be outlawed. You should move into a gated community.
  7. Don't Care
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    Don't Care - September 10, 2013 5:05 pm
    You have no right to tell your neighbor what he can do with his property. Zilch, nada, no f'n way. This is a free country.
  8. startingover
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    startingover - September 10, 2013 4:42 pm
    The dog relieves herself in my yard only,, it is her owner you need to worry about.(just a joke everyone, don't get all fired up and thin skinned)

  9. marinerzman
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    marinerzman - September 10, 2013 4:40 pm
    You clearly have never set foot in aspen sound. its not all about bass. there are thousands of people who go to aspen sound just to get better sound in there vehicle. in fact most people get speakers or a remote start. they want to enhance the sound in a place where they spend a good portion of their time. noise pollution? i think if you actually went into the store you might see what its all about. if you want to point fingers why dont you blame every shop that does something after market. blue ribbon, best buy, every custom exhaust shop in town. yes, some people have subwoofers in their cars, thats a personal choice. it sounds like you have personal beef with a person who has done nothing but support his community and provide an exceptional service for years. aspen sound sponsors MULTIPLE events and fundraisers around town.
  10. startingover
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    startingover - September 10, 2013 4:40 pm
    You are correct sir, I rent here. So what? I still live here. I still share the same space, and breathe the same air. I keep my little part of the west side clean and mowed, unlike many of my neighbors, including property owners. I can't afford to move since I live in one of the hundreds of run down old trailers that fill a good portion of the west side. Regardless, by moving the mission and the pov onto Broadway, they are removing them from the center of neighborhoods. They will be on a main thoroughfare. They will have a main transportation corridor to and from services like the bus stop, the pov, out to reserve, and will be closer to the river which many live next to. They will have no need to be wandering the "neighborhood", since the shortest route to anywhere from either Broadway location will be to stay on Broadway. If you are so worried about a soup kitchen ruining your life, rent out your house, and you move. After you get all the appropriate permits, and the neighbors approve of your use of your own property for something other than you living there.
  11. citizenjane
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    citizenjane - September 10, 2013 4:34 pm
    The issue the council voted on is whether or not homeless shelters and soup kitchens should be zoned as conditional use. How crazy would you have to be to think that a coffee stand should have rules to follow but not a shelter that deals with ex cons, the mentally ill and drug addicted adults?
    The Mission has not lost their lease. They simply have to follow some rules just like every other church, non profit and business in this city. As far as retroactivity; a. the Mission DID NOT have its permit submitted prior to the date the issue was brought before council and b. what about bars where smoking was banned, some of whom had been in business for decades? Or businesses that have had to update for handicap access? Sometimes rules change and we have to adapt.
    When the government discovers that it needs regulation to protect its citizenry it must act. The issue of appropriate zoning isn't isn't between the Union Gospel Mission and residents. It is a city government issue. The Mission now must work within the rules if they want to operate within city limits. That is fair to everyone.
  12. startingover
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    startingover - September 10, 2013 4:24 pm
    Your doubts are totally unfounded. I live a few blocks from the proposed site of the mission. It doesn't bother me at all.
  13. cmoyles
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    cmoyles - September 10, 2013 4:23 pm
    If there are issues with neighborhoods and homes becoming unsafe, with citizens doing things which cause those events, then clearly this is a law enforcement issue. It may be wise to address why current ordinances and laws are not being enforced properly.
  14. cmoyles
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    cmoyles - September 10, 2013 4:22 pm
    mtsky -If your conjecture is, in fact true, it may be doubly wise to address why current ordinances and laws are not being enforced properly, as I said above. If you are truly interested in costs associated with homelessness, you may want to due a bit of research on the costs of homelessness, hospitalization, medical treatment, incarceration, police intervention, and emergency shelter expenses make homelessness very expensive for municipalities and taxpayers.

    What solutions do you propose if you find enforcement of current laws not to be a deterrent?
  15. startingover
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    startingover - September 10, 2013 4:20 pm
    Yup. Because it isn't moving into the neighborhood.It is moving onto Broadway, a major transportation corridor through town. It will be moved out of a neighborhood, and so will the mission, if they move to Broadway.
  16. mtsky
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    mtsky - September 10, 2013 2:49 pm
    How do you suppose the city enforce those against the homeless and transient population? Let's see...we could give them tickets that will never, ever, ever get paid. Do you really think they care if the city sends them to collections? Of course not! Next, we could send them to the county slammer for a few nights. At over $100 a night to the taxpayers, a stay in county jail will get them a warm place to sleep, a nice soft bed, and three square meals a day. Sounds better than being homeless! That's not going to work. You see, the minor consequences resulting from misdemeanor offenses are a non-deterent to most of these folks.
  17. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 2:41 pm
    The point of all that is?
  18. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 2:35 pm
    Of course they're at fault. And there is plenty of blame to go around. There is not even a name for the kinds of people who would willingly and deliberately impose their will on people who are just trying to peacefully enjoy their homes. Inconsiderate doesn't even begin to describe it. I suspect it is more of a mental disease and/or personality disorder. Normal people take into account how their actions effect others. These animals never got that and Stuart and his ilk are the head of the pack. If you want comical, see Stuart Hilleboe, the peddler of senseless noise pollution, complaining about something that is diminishing the quality of his surroundings. How ironic. What a loser.
  19. cmoyles
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    cmoyles - September 10, 2013 2:18 pm
    I seem to be missing something here. If there are issues with neighborhoods and homes becoming unsafe, with citizens doing things which cause those events, then clearly this is a law enforcement issue. It may be wise to address why current ordinances and laws are not being enforced properly.

    http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/index.aspx?nid=268

    8.28.100 Littering.
    A. It is unlawful for any person to throw, discard, place or deposit litter in any manner or amount on any public or private property except in containers or areas lawfully provided therefore.

    9.24.010 Disturbances. A person commits a violation of this chapter if he knowingly commits one of the follow­ing acts:
    For statutory provisions granting cities power to prevent and punish conduct calculated to disturb the peace, see MCA §7‑32‑4302; for provisions on public intoxication, see MCA §53‑24‑106.
    A. Quarrelling, challenging to fight or fighting;
    B. Making loud or unusual noises;
    C. Using threatening, profane, obscene or abusive language;
    D. Discharging firearms
    E. Rendering vehicular or pedestrian traffic impassable;
    F. Rendering the free ingress or egress to public or private places impassable;
    G. Disturbing or disrupting any lawful assembly or public meeting;
    H. Transmitting a false report or warning of a fire, impending explosion, or other catastrophe in such a place that its occurrence would endanger human life; or
    I. Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by act that serves no legitimate purpose. (Ord. 2042 §1(part), 1979: prior code §21‑7(part)).

    9.26.020 Unlawful within city limits. Public drinking and public display and exhibition of beer, wine or liquor as defined in this chapter are prohibited, and it is unlawful for any person to engage in public drinking, public display or exhibition of beer or liquor within the city limits.

    9.34.040 Prohibited conduct. The following conduct or action is prohibited pursuant to the city of Missoula "Pedestrian Interference Act" and is considered to be a violation of this chapter.
    A. It is unlawful for any person to sit, lie or sleep on a sidewalk within twelve (12) feet of an entrance to a building, or to lie or sleep upon any street or alley, within the city limits.
    B. It is unlawful for any person to walk, stand, sit or place an object in such a manner which obstructs or hinders passage of pedestrians on any street crosswalk, sidewalk or other public right-of-way by leaving less than six contiguous feet (6’) of clear right-of-way for pedestrian passage for sidewalks that are twelve feet or wider in width, and no less than fifty percent (50%) of the sidewalk width for clear right-of-way for pedestrian passage on sidewalks within the city limits

    9.36.020 Purposes. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of and visitors to the city by prohibiting acts of aggression or interference towards pedestrians as allowed by Section 7-32-4304 of the Montana Code Annotated. This includes prohibiting aggressive soliciting actions that threaten, harass, intimidate or cause fear of bodily injury in pedestrians; general soliciting in places where pedestrians and citizens are more open to threats of aggression or harm; general soliciting that poses a threat of harm to pedestrians and vehicle traffic; and false or misleading soliciting actions.
  20. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 2:12 pm
    On a side note, Stuart Hilleboe is one to talk about things impacting neighborhoods. He and Aspen Sound represent the single biggest threat to quality of life in Missoula. I curse him every time one of his stereo systems wakes me up at 3AM. If the new soup kitchen does open up next door, I hope it bankrupts him.
  21. marinerzman
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    marinerzman - September 10, 2013 2:01 pm
    The fact that you think that the stereo shop is at fault, i find comical. aspen sound has been in missoula for over 20 years. my dad purchased his equipment there when he was younger. and i myself have purchased audio equipment there. they have just as much at stake as the residents. they compete with online companies and other outlets. if you havent noticed the westside has been on an upswing in the past decade. many businesses have done remodels, along with many of the houses.you moved out of the neighborhood, good for you. these people have strived to make the westside a better place. obviously they want to defend there own personal investments. pointing fingers at a local business is just cruel. what about the loud diesel truck? or the motorcycle? i find myself awakened to those much more often then a sound system. way to go westside!
  22. CynicalTaxpayer
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    CynicalTaxpayer - September 10, 2013 1:48 pm
    Regardless of one's point of view on this, I question whether retroactive legislation is legal.?
  23. brittdog
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    brittdog - September 10, 2013 1:07 pm
    I think that we are overlooking the whole point here. The point is that the Mayor and the City Council issued permits for the Gospel Mission to use that site. Now because of all of the opposition they have enacted this retroactive ruling. Wouldn't it be great if we all could now go retroactive to correct our mistakes that easy? The example of Judge Baugh still stands on this merit.
  24. zoolamb
    Report Abuse
    zoolamb - September 10, 2013 11:48 am
    As concerning as the location of this facility may be to the locals there is an issue that should be concerning to all of us. By allowing the city council to make retroactive zoning rules, no one is exempt from having things change, plans, and even property values change overnight.

    This will not have all that much effect all that many Westside home and will actually improve things for number of others. keep in mind the gospel mission came into existence because misguided program changes at the POV put large numbers of homeless on the streets during the day.(a number of long term staff left and John 3:16 came into existence) That program still exists just a few blocks away. The Mission itself is currently surrounded by homes.

    When you live next to a blighted commercial corridor and the commercial has got up and left to better locations, you need to be aware just about anything can (and will) move in. Selective retroactive zoning will not save you. The Porn shops already there aren't going away, nor are other low rent businesses going to stay away. Like it or not the immediate area became the center of social services long ago. You have hundreds (and more coming) of Section 8 housing,) adaptive living homes, the Poverllo, the YWCA and associated programs are already there. The NIMBY doesn't apply its already there.
  25. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 11:10 am
    Exactly. You tend to look at things differently when it's YOUR skin in the game.
  26. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 11:03 am
    Believe me, I place plenty of blame on those dumb kids. Or I could blame the city for enacting noise regulations which have no teeth, or for failure to enforce the ones we have. There is plenty of blame to go around and in my opinion, Stuart shoulders a good portion of it- profiting off the misery of Missoulians.
  27. Don't Care
    Report Abuse
    Don't Care - September 10, 2013 11:01 am
    It is your right to protect your property, yes if threaten by trespassing. When it comes to property the does not belong to you, you should have no rights in saying what they do. All I hear from you people is me, me, me....mine mine mine. You don;t like what's going on, work harder and buy all the property around you.
  28. sportscaster
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    sportscaster - September 10, 2013 10:47 am
    This is what continues to be overlooked by so many when talking about this issue. Perception often becomes reality, and my perception is that the mission tried to do this quietly to avoid the very uproar that has been created. Based on other events in the past they should have known better. And being a gospel mission, they should have known better and done things differently. If mission representatives say they acted based on the current ordinances which overlooked soup kitchens, etc., that still doesn't excuse them from doing it on the quiet. Paraphrasing from the Bible, "You reap what you sow." - Bill Schwanke
  29. Responsible Jeeper
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    Responsible Jeeper - September 10, 2013 10:28 am
    If your asking me then ABSOLUTELY NOT!
  30. libertarian
    Report Abuse
    libertarian - September 10, 2013 10:01 am
    So you support the POV moving in the neighborhood?
  31. Roger
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    Roger - September 10, 2013 10:00 am
    Please be sure your dog relieves itself on your property, not someone else's.
  32. dave ajou
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    dave ajou - September 10, 2013 9:52 am
    You'll only need to check in if your dog has been using their yard, preferably before they mow.
  33. 1amendmentman
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    1amendmentman - September 10, 2013 9:46 am
    Really? the single biggest threat to Missoula is a car stereo at 3am? and to blame the guy that installs them and not the dumb kid blasting his stereo is weak. I think we should be supporting local businesses and not stuff that drain our economy and make the community unsafe
  34. MissoulaMom
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    MissoulaMom - September 10, 2013 9:41 am
    I haven't met one person in my Westiside neighborhood who is in favor of this "mission." I kind of doubt you live on the Westside.
  35. MissoulaMom
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    MissoulaMom - September 10, 2013 9:39 am
    Thank you, City Council, for helping to keep our neighborhood safe and clean, and for helping to prevent our property values from dwindling. My family and I appreciate it, and I know that all of my neighbors appreciate it as well. Thank you.
  36. Responsible Jeeper
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    Responsible Jeeper - September 10, 2013 9:17 am
    Maybe they shouldn't have tried to be so sneaky when moving in under the radar. Trust me, the Mission has some financial backing! I don't think they are going to sweat it.
    As far as you being embarrassed to say your a West Side resident. MOVE.
    I bet you rent there. I bet you don't have your hard earned money invested in a home you bought there. Just sayin!
  37. Responsible Jeeper
    Report Abuse
    Responsible Jeeper - September 10, 2013 9:14 am
    They are trying to get permits under a day care center.
    What is wrong with THAT picture?
    And as for your example using scumbag judge Baugh, the PEOPLE cried out over the injustice that occurred. And it worked just like this situation. The City Council only brought about this emergency retroactive zoning because the people of Missoula are doing the same re: the Mission.
    Kudos people of Missoula for standing up for YOUR rights to live in a safe neighborhood!
  38. brittdog
    Report Abuse
    brittdog - September 10, 2013 8:26 am
    There seems to be a double standard at work here, when the Missoula City Council wants to enact a retroactive ordnance that is just fine. When Judge Baugh wants to change his mistake the Montana State Supreme Court says NO. As I recall we are to have Justice for all in this Country of The United States of America. The Gospel Mission was issued the Permits last May. What is wrong with this picture?
  39. Re-Made in Montana
    Report Abuse
    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 8:08 am
    On a side note, Stuart Hilleboe is one to talk about things impacting neighborhoods. He and Aspen Sound represent the single biggest threat to quality of life in Missoula. I curse him every time one of his stereo systems wakes me up at 3AM. If the new soup kitchen does open up next door, I hope it bankrupts him.
  40. Re-Made in Montana
    Report Abuse
    Re-Made in Montana - September 10, 2013 8:00 am
    Where do you live "John P Weber"? Have you ever lived next to one of these places? Several years ago, I lived several houses away from the current location and I can tell you it was a nightmare. People dying in the alley behind our house. Human feces everywhere. People just hanging out, drinking and doing God knows what in the neighborhood. Yelling and activity at all hours. No thanks. The residents of the West Side are right to fight this tooth and nail.
  41. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - September 10, 2013 7:18 am
    Wow, are some people misinformed on this subject. The truth is that there are members of the City Council that are hard core leftists from New York and these members relish bringing in more transients to Missoula. Feeding the transients free meals at the Union Gospel will be like feeding addicts free drugs. They will swarm to Missoula. Why do these people want downtown Missoula to resemble downtown San Fransico?
  42. Kojack
    Report Abuse
    Kojack - September 10, 2013 6:57 am
    The city needs to take care of its tax payers first. Then we can look at the homeless and how to best address their needs. Some people act as if the homeless crowd poses no problems, see this article ----http://missoulian.com/rape-suspect/image_65179240-f969-11e2-804a-0019bb2963f4.html . Taking care of the missoulians may include moving the soup kitchens to safer locations for the general public. Personally I'm sick of the transient crowd and the way they trash our town. Go look under the California bridge at all the alcohol bottles and cans. The soup kitchens should be a little more inconvenient and a working shelter - not a free ride.
  43. startingover
    Report Abuse
    startingover - September 10, 2013 6:51 am
    Guess I better start checking in with my neighbors before I let my dog out to relieve itself, or mow my lawn. Wouldn't want to upset them.
  44. startingover
    Report Abuse
    startingover - September 10, 2013 6:50 am
    So I wonder who is going to pay the mission back for the lease they already paid on? I am sure they operate on a very limited budget. Makes me embarrassed to say I am a west side resident.
  45. Sheepdawg
    Report Abuse
    Sheepdawg - September 10, 2013 5:39 am
    I'd be concerned as well if I lived in that neighborhood. Home values are no joke not to mention the crime brought by the professional drifter/alcoholic who wants to be homeless. I am not talking about the displaced family. The council is wise to listen to the taxpaying voters.
  46. John P Weber
    Report Abuse
    John P Weber - September 10, 2013 3:39 am
    It doesn't matter where union mission wants to locate, city council wont allow it anywhere because of peoples fear. And it will show that members of our community fear for there lives cause some people are homeless. And the city council has shown its afraid of homeless people in the city, maybe our council member's need to be homeless themselves for 6 months with no job in order to understand.
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