Neighbors Divided Over Homeless Hospice Center
The halls of the INN Between hospice center for the homeless were quiet the day after Christmas.
But then again, it’s generally pretty quiet at the former nursing home site since the organization moved into the area near Liberty Party in June. Located at 1300 South and 1100 East, the three-year-old INN Between provides homeless people who are at the end of life or severely ill with shelter and a warm bed for at least 50 clients. But there's still a clamor over the new addition to the neighborhood.
For some neighbors like Ryan Dearth, the quietness from the INN Between’s presence is an improvement. Dearth lives with his wife live in a house directly across from the INN Between, where they have lived for the three years.
Before, the nursing home created a lot of traffic in their already busy street, he said. But Dearth thinks the situation has improved since the INN Between moved in.
“There’s more on-street parking since there’s less employees, less people coming in and out,” Dearth said.
But not everyone is exciting about the INN Between’s arrival.
A TALE OF TWO FUNDRAISERS
Sophie Anderson is one of those people. Anderson, who lives one street over from the INN Between, joined other neighbors in launching a GoFundMe fundraiser shortly after the INN Between moved in. Forty people have donated more than $5,000 in the past six months.
Anderson told KUER in an email statement that she and a group of neighbors support the INN Between’s mission and the work that they do, but they don’t think their neighborhood where young families and seniors live, is an appropriate location for the center.
“We realized, very early on that if we did not help those Sherman residents without a voice, no one would,” Anderson said in an email statement. “Some of these residents are in their 90’s, some fear retaliation that would affect their livelihoods, others just can not [sic] bear the ignorance and smearing that occurs when you stand up for something that is not the popular consensus.”
Matilda Lindgren, the INN Between’s program director, said this is not the first time the INN Between has faced opposition from neighbors.
She said one of their former neighbors felt very wary of their organization when they opened in the old Guadalupe School on Goshen Street.
Lindgren said they never really won that neighbor over, but they did eventually work closely and the neighbor would call Lindgren whenever there was a problem and they would address it together.
She is hoping something similar will happen in their new location.
“I’m available to talk to anyone about any concerns that’s happening,” Lindgren said.
Other neighbors say they already fully support in the INN Between.
Breanne Clement started a separate GoFundMe fundraiser for the INN Between on Dec. 19. She lives about a mile away from the INN Between. Already, 52 people have donated about $2,000 for the hospice center.
Some donors are neighbors and current INN Between volunteers, Clement said.
“So I am hoping this will show support and make people in other neighborhoods a little less fearful if new places like this start to pop up throughout the state,” she said.
Lindgren said she and the staff are happy to see so many neighbors rallying around them.
Typically the mood in center during this time of year is sober since the holidays are always hard on the center’s clients, Lindgren said. Two residents recently died, including one man who died on Christmas Day.
But knowing that they are gaining the trust of some their new neighbors does lift their spirits.