TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The debate over a homeless shelter on Mahan Drive will soon come to an end. The City of Tallahassee will meet Monday morning to discuss the future of City Walk Urban Mission.
Homeowners say they don't feel safe. Business owners say they're losing business. All are blaming it on the new homeless shelter meant to help some of our community's most vulnerable.
Stewart’s Pharmacy owner Danny Jackson said the business has seen negative impacts since the shelter opened.
"The people need help, I understand that. But in this location, that affects the businesses. We've been here 25 years and in the last 2 months, we've had to call the police more than ever," said Jackson.
Jackson said there is more trash and litter scattered around. Plus, he said his customers have been approached by panhandlers.
"Anytime it makes the customers uncomfortable, it affects them wanting to go into the store. It definitely has impacted the businesses in the area,” said Jackson.
City Walk Urban Mission opened its doors in late November of 2020. The shelter initially opened as a temporary place for the homeless to get food and a place to sleep.
Now, the shelter is hoping to become a permanent fixture. However, City staff is recommending against it. The recommendation letter says "The overall character of the area has notably changed since the shelter's establishment."
Dillon Murray is one of the people the shelter has helped.
"Take away everyone that you know. Take way your job and everything like that. See how much determination you have to make it. You don't,” said Murray.
Murray is an army veteran. He said after returning, he slipped into alcoholism. He joined City Walk’s Rehabilitation program in February of 2020. Now, Murray is working to help others dealing with addiction.
“Now I can take myself from where I was homeless, less fortunate, didn’t have a dime to my name. God has brought me back to a point where I can give people what I received,” said Murray.
It’s a role that he said will help save the community.
“I can keep them out of the streets; keep them out of your neighborhood.”
Now people like Murray are planning a protest at City Hall. They say this protest is about showcasing what happens beyond the walls of City Walk.
"Hopefully we can provide insight to what we're doing. People are going off hearsay. They can come talk to us,” said Murray.
The demonstration starts at 12 p.m. at City Hall on Saturday. City leaders will hold a final hearing on the future of the shelter Monday at 9 p.m. at City Hall.