A proposed homeless center is causing some controversy in a New Port Richey Neighborhood.

  • Residents protest over homeless center in a Pasco neighborhood
  • Homeless center to be located at old Boys and Girls Club building
  • Petition started to relocate shelter

A group of New Port Richey residents are petitioning for the center’s relocation. They gathered outside Chasco Elementary School Thursday during orientation in hopes of warning parents about the proposed center nearby.

“We believe in supporting the homeless, but we don’t believe this is an appropriate location,” Nick Taldone said.

The proposed center would be located off Ridge Road at the old Boys and Girls Club building, which is across the street from a subdivision and borders a shopping center.

“Statistically the studies have shown by the federal government again and again that putting in a shelter does not increase the arrest rate or the criminalization in an area, so that’s not going to increase,” Raine Johns, CEO of the Coalition for Homeless in Pasco County, said.

“It’s also been shown that the property values aren’t affected when you put a shelter in,” Johns added.

The homeless coalition would run the center and says they hope to help the population of 3,000 homeless in Pasco County get on their feet.

The program allows for anyone who is willing to come, so no background checks or drug tests—which is a concern for residents.

“We want it relocated to a safer and more secure area, not in direct contact with our kids here, or with our residents over there,” Taldone said. “Somewhere like over next to the sheriff’s office where they have more control.”

Protestors suggested the old jail at the sheriff’s office in New Port Richey. However, so far the county and coalition said the building off Ridge Road is the most ideal.

“The homeless are already here, and people with backgrounds are already here. What we want to do is something that’s not being done, and humanitarian,” Johns said. “We want to help people get jobs, we want to help them get stable, and we want to help them move into housing.”

So far the protestors say they have nearly 1,000 signatures combined on paper and online.

The earliest the center could be up and running is fall of next year.

On Tuesday, the board of commissioners will be voting on an action plan and funding for renovations. The coalition has already secured $200,000 to run the center.