ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – The local neighborhood speaks out about a potential boarding house for low-income men, proposed for the 300 block of West Church Street in Elmira.
The boarding house is proposed to house up to 12 to 14 men who are struggling financially. The neighborhood says the people are not the problem, it’s the group proposing the boarding house.
The group, HBSB Properties properties is a for-profit organization. They will be collecting money from the men who live at this boarding house.
“I’ve been involved in Christian ministry in this neighborhood for a long time and I can tell you that it’s not about accepting checks or getting paid… it really is about serving the poor and serving the disenfranchised,” said Father Don Matthews, a resident on W. Church St.
Matthews speaks on behalf of some of his fellow neighbors and sites the fact that this area has many non-profits in this area that help out the poor.
“We have so many resources in this city that are non-profit, so our question is why do we need another for-profit boarding house,” said Matthews.
If the organization proposing this was a not-for-profit, Matthews says there would be more regulation of what the residents are doing, as well as providing a plan for these men to get in a better place.
“How are these folks going to monitor 12 to 14 men? What are these men going to do on the outside of the house, who is going to monitor that?” Matthews asks.
Neighbors and locals have a great concern for the safety of the neighborhood. Specifically concerned about drugs and theft.
“We have these men who are basically unsupervised, they don’t have any connection to the neighborhood, or to the house, what is the screening process?” said Matthews.
A public hearing on this topic was held yesterday, and the next meeting is set for November 1st. 18 News reached out to HBSB Properties, and they said they have “no comment at this time.”