SE Memphis resident worried about Union Mission move - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SE Memphis resident worried about Union Mission move

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A possible new addition to a southeast Memphis neighborhood has some residents hot under the collar.

Memphis Union Mission leaders say the emergency shelter downtown built in 1963 simply doesn't cut anymore in 2009.

But finding a place for a new recovery shelter isn't easy.  Darnell Flowers says he's one of hundreds in his neighborhood who doesn't want the Memphis Union Mission in his backyard - or anywhere near it.

His Oakland Hills neighborhood off Hickory Hill near Knight Arnold is about six miles away from the possible Union Mission Facility at Knight Arnold Road and Lamar Avenue.

For Flowers, that's too close.

"I don't want nobody to break into my house. That's the main issue," he said.

So Flowers, the Neighborhood Watch President, is pounding the pavement, passing out flyers to let his neighbors know about the plans in the works.

"I've talked with over five hundred people," he said. "We are prepared to picket them if they move out here."

Flowers also worries the new facility will bring the loiters and panhandlers from downtown out to southeast Memphis.

"They tried the courtesy patrol and they still can't control it," he said. "Downtown is smaller than southeast Memphis, so I know they won't control it out here."

Steve Carpenter, Development Director of the Union Mission, says leaders with the Union Mission plan to soon ease people's concerns about their plans for the 13 acres at the southeast Memphis location.

"Our hope and prayer is that they'll see this is not a facility where people will be coming and going," he said.

Instead, according to Carpenter, it will be a place where people commit to stay for the long term...and learn how to end their lives on the street for good.

"Educational programs, computer literacy, expanded drug and alcohol programs, work programs...things that are really and truly going to get people off the streets and back on their feet again," Carpenter said.

Flowers said he still remains skeptical.

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