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Local Residents: Homeless Shelter is too Close for Comfort

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RALEIGH — It is bitterly cold outside. Most people can turn up the heat or light the fireplace, but some who do not have a home are often left out in the cold.

A new shelter in Raleigh offers a warm place for the homeless to stay, but not everybody is throwing out the welcome mat.

A 24 hour homeless shelter on Raleigh's southside opened last week. On this first frosty weekend the Fall, it is like an oasis for the cold homeless people seeking shelter.

However, some of the residence living near the Montgomery Green shelter wish the homeless were not sleeping so close to their neighborhood.

Ray Cooper is thankful that he and about 200 of the city's homeless have a warm place to escape the frigid temperatures.

"There will be at least three to four people that will die tonight that are our friends if they do not stay at the shelter," Cooper said.

Lester Coats lives in a sub-division about half a mile from the shelter down Wilmington Street. He says the shelter is just too close for comfort.

"They could steal something that they can get a fast buck for," Coats said.

Coats said in the past year his car has been broken into, and someone smash out one of the windows on the back of his house.

"At our age in this community most of the people are elderly people," Coats said. "We don't need that kind of stuff. We don't bother nobody, and we don't want nobody bothering us."

The Montgomery Green shelter is not the only one that Coats and his neighbors are worried about. Raleigh city officials are talking about building another shelter down Wilmington Street even closer to their neighborhood. Reporter: Todd HauerPhotographer: Lynn French


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