KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Some neighbors outraged over a proposed day center for the homeless are taking their fight to a town hall meeting.
It's all about the building that used to be the Presbytery of East Tennessee. Now a group called Family Promise is looking to buy it and that's causing some friction. The group says there's nothing to fear. Laura Whisenant says, "I know all my neighbors here, but now I don't know considering it's directly across from my house."
Laura Whisenant tells me she just concerned for her four kids.
She's not the only one. One person is moving to Corryton and others who live nearby say they've already had problems with crime. They don't want Family Promise or any more strangers in the area.
Whisenant says, "We'll probably move as well if it comes."
Those who work with the Family Promise center in West Knoxville say there's nothing to be afraid of. Family Promise Executive Director Joyce Shoudy says, "We're not a scary place. We don't work with scary people."
It's a place for parents and children during the day. They don't allow domestic violence cases, drug or alcohol addicts, weapons, clients with criminal histories or drama. The existing center is cramped, the kitchen is small and there's no space for private meetings. That's why they want this building on Cedar Lane which sits on three acres with room to grow. Shoudy says, "We want to be able to serve more families. We're all about the kids."
The kids stay in a room in the house while mom or dad meet with professionals and outline goals for jobs and housing. Shoudy says, "We work with families just like you and me. In this economy it can happen to anyone."
The Family Promise success rate is 80 percent. The average stay is 70 days. If Family Promise can get this area rezoned, it will be their new home. That's what everyone will be talking about at the town hall meeting that starts at 7pm. It's at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Jacksboro Pike.