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Franklin Co residents don't want transitional housing unit built in their neighborhood

June 02, 2010
  • This neighborhood is where Franklin County officials are hoping a transitional housing complex will be built.
This neighborhood is where Franklin County officials are hoping a transitional housing complex will be built.

A battle is brewing in Franklin County where residents are frowning on the idea of transitional housing moving next door.

"You can't put it behind fences it's not a prison," says Mary Wood who is in favor of the project.

But many who live off of Dent Street don't want a new low income housing project built in their neighborhood.  John Morris the executive director of STEP, the nonprofit proposing the housing, says that's because it's being mischaracterized.

"If I wanted to build a duplex and rent it out to high end customers they wouldn't have any problem with that," says Morris.

Morris points out Franklin County needs this development as more families in the area struggle. At the height of the housing crisis he says his agency was averaging 150 calls a week asking for help.

"Right now there's only one shelter in Franklin County and that's primarily for women who've been in domestic violence situations," say Morris.

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STEP would like to build one housing unit possibly two to serve several families. Tenants would have to put up 30 percent of their income as rent and could only stay for two years.

"I truly think the community needs to know that homeless people aren't all bad, we're not all looking for a free ride," says Wood.

After completing a two year prison sentence for identity theft recently, she needs help getting on her feet.

Neighbors didn't want to go on camera but tell News7 they don't want the extra foot traffic and aren't convinced it would be a transitional housing center but more of a homeless shelter.  Some who have lived in the area for more than 30 years want it to remain an area of single family dwellings - not adding on to the duplexes and apartments already built.

Town officials in Rocky Mount's could make a decision on the issue in the coming weeks.

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