Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 05:00 pm
A HOMELESS HOMELESS SHELTER
Helping Hands homeless shelter is without a home itself. Its plans to move to the old Ace Sign Co. building at 402 N. Fourth St. have drawn criticism from residents of the Near North Village apartment building and Sangamon Towers. Helping Hands had to move out of its previous shared spot with Contact Ministries of Springfield when that organization decided to expand, and Helping Hands has temporarily occupied the building used for the Springfield Overflow Shelter ever since. At a public meeting last week, one resident in a wheelchair said she worried that homeless people would drink near her residence and attack her on the street. Helping Hands director Rod Lane tried to address residents’ concerns at the meeting, saying the new location would feature security cameras, a gated courtyard and staff patrols to prevent loitering and public intoxication. Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman and Ace Sign Co. owner Dennis Bringuet support the plan, and Lane said Springfield Mayor Mike Houston suggested Helping Hands consider moving to that location in the first place. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the Springfield City Council, which is projected to vote on the rezoning request on Oct. 15.