Residents pack meeting for proposed homeless shelter in Olathe

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OLATHE, Kan. -- An overflowing crowd packed into a neighborhood meeting for a proposed homeless shelter at an old Masonic Lodge building near Santa Fe and K-7 in Olathe.

Barb McEver and her nonprofit group Project 1020 bought the property to operate a shelter out of the building, but the nonprofit still needs to apply for a special-use permit from the city before it can open.

“My hopes are to maybe clear up any confusion that the neighbors might have in regards to us purchasing this building and wanting to have a shelter for homeless adults,” McEver said.

The neighborhood meeting is part of the requirement to obtain a special use permit.

Many of the people at Monday night’s meeting live nearby and have concerns about a homeless shelter in their neighborhood.

“We have a grade school here, we have a park here,” said Marshall Dial, who lives nearby. “We have our homes and our children here, and they’re talking about these people are not going be here during the day. That just means they’re letting them out at the same time the kids are getting on and off the bus.”

Johnson County has some resources for homeless women and families, but many single homeless men are directed to shelters in Kansas City.

“We want it to be a safe environment, and we want to help them hopefully make their way out of homelessness,” McEver said. “If we can, get them the opportunity to have a good place to come and get a meal and a place to sleep.”

The Olathe City Council is scheduled to vote on the special use permit for the proposed homeless shelter on March 11.

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