For Homeless Shelter, Less Than a Warm Welcome

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fairfax City is trying to force the Lamb Center, a day shelter for the homeless, onto our community. The City Council has approved the purchase of property a block from our community.

It is an outrage that neither the Fairfax City Council nor Truro Episcopal Church's Outreach Ministry ever bothered to contact our community to discuss their plans. What were they thinking when they decided to move a number of emotionally and mentally ill addicts and alcoholics a block from us, with many senior citizens and small children? How is it better to move this center away from businesses, where they racked up numerous police reports, to an area where there are businesses, restaurants, an ABC store, two bars, a junior high school and three neighborhoods?

These men are bused in, but not out -- and as the doors close at 4 p.m., those who have no place to go are handed sleeping bags and set loose.

How can the Fairfax City Council justify spending 73 percent above appraised value and then say it's an investment? The only investment being made here is one of political interests and imaginary deadlines by politicians.

Yorktowne Square Condominium is one of Fairfax County's few affordable housing developments. We make it possible for low- and middle-income people to buy their property, build equity and thrive. Yorktowne is a partner with Virginia's Stormwater Management Project and has a green roof, a rain swale and a habitat. We consider ourselves stewards of our community.

The Lamb Center and its associated crime threaten us. We have increased our resident homeowner ratio over the past few years, reinstating our Federal Housing Administration [loan-financing] status. If we lose this population, our community will become a rental property with no future.

We cannot turn our homes into a compound. And we are not alone. High Pointe contacted us as soon as it heard of this plan and within a week had established the Merrifield Citizens Association.

The Fairfax City Council has stated that it wants Fairfax County to share the burden of caring for the homeless. The Lamb Center is a Truro Episcopal Church project, not a Fairfax County program. They are trying to maneuver as much as they can onto Fairfax County, and they expect our community to bear the burden.

Help us. You can find the MCA Web site at

Laurie Graham

Falls Church

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