Montgomery County officials are scheduled to meet tonight with some residents of the Forest Glen section of Silver Spring who say they are concerned about security surrounding a planned shelter for the homeless in their neighborhood.
"There is no way in the world I'm going to convince . . . a group of citizens that this is a desirable facility," said Charles L. Short, the Montgomery County official who last week won an agreement with the Defense Department to open a 20-bed shelter at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center complex in Forest Glen.
But, Short added, "whatever we have to do to make it safe we will. We will do nothing that is not sound or that jeopardizes" the several families who live in the vicinity of the shelter.
Short is scheduled to hold a meeting tonight at Woodlin Elementary School with members of the Forest Glen Park Citizens Association.
Short announced yesterday that as part of recent negotiations on the lease for an old barracks building on the annex grounds, Montgomery County agreed to send its police to help military police patrol the roads leading to the shelter. The county will install security devices on the doors and windows of the barracks building, which will be converted at a cost of about $20,000, Short said. The county also plans to bus those who use the shelter out of the Forest Glen area by 8 a.m. each day, Short added.
Several neighborhood residents said they would attend tonight's meeting in Forest Glen to protest the county's and Army's apparent failure to notify them of the shelter plans.
Lewis Gollub, a University of Maryland professor who lives on Woodstock Avenue, about 500 feet from the Army building on Linden Lane, said, "Security is our main concern. We may find that the county is meeting our requests."