Debate over new Seacoast homeless shelter location continues
EXETER - There's controversy over a proposed new location for a Stratham family homeless shelter.
The Seacoast Family Promise homeless shelter, currently located in the basement of the Stratham Community Church, is 'too small' for its current operations, directors say.
In just one room, families share a dining area, computer station, child's play area, changing area and a television center.
"We're sort of on top of one another, and so we'd like to have a larger space to provide separate areas for families," said Exec. Director Pati Frew-Waters.
The shelter currently accepts up to 14 people at a time, and only families with children under 18.
Storage is limited to shelves just several feet wide per family.
Located at 27 Hampton Road in Exeter, the property could not be turned into a homeless shelter unless an exception is made by the zoning board.
But many residents are opposed to its proposed location.
"It just keeps opening the door to more and more, and that's really the concern," said Linda Allen, who said she supports the shelter, just not the location.
But not all residents feel that way.
"They've said that it could bring the valuations down of our homes," said one woman who didn't want to be identified. "I don't want to go to the meetings. I don't support that feeling. I think that - I don't see any problem with having it there."
The zoning board continued deliberations on the proposed zoning exception after a 4-hour heated discussion on Tuesday. It is set to continue at a meeting at the end of March.
"That place suits us well, and no matter what happens we will continue to look for a larger space," Frew-Waters said.