The Emmermeer neighbourhood association is unhappy with the lack of communication from the Salvation Army about setting up a shelter in their community.
Translation by Traci White
RTV Drenthe reports that there are plans to move a Salvation Army homeless shelter to a former post office at Weerdingerstraat 204 in Emmen – the shelter is currently located at De Breehof in Nieuw-Amsterdam.
The Salvation Army would be able to set up 20 “trajectplaatsen” (reintegration or training tracks) and four beds at the Weerdingerstraat location. The former post office would also give the Salvation Army the option of making more overnight spaces available during extreme winter weather. Talks with the owner of the building and the Salvation Army are reportedly nearing the end.
“A done deal”
Geert Hubs, the leader of the Emmermeer neighbourhood association, says that they are “not amused” by how the plans have been communicated to the community. “It sounds like it’s already a done deal. We won’t have an opportunity to contribute to this decision.” The location is across the street from houses on the Weerdingerstraat and next door to a number of businesses.
Renate Harkema, a representative for the Salvation Army, told RTV Drenthe that the organisation deliberately chose to buy the building straight away due to its central location and a lack of other suitable buildings on the street. “At our Nieuw-Amsterdam location, people have to travel there by train and then walk 20 minutes to get there. This new location is much closer to the station and the welfare agency, UWV.”
The Salvation Army is prepared to discuss their plans for matters like building security with the local residents once the purchase is complete. But the neighbourhood association wants those talks with people living in the vicinity of the new shelter to start as quickly as possible. “We want to know how the locals feel about it and use that to inform our position. Of course we understand that these people need somewhere to go, but the communication about all of this has just been poor.”
Hubs says that there is a silver lining, though: the addiction treatment facilities for the Northern Netherlands is also moving from the Breehoft in Nieuw-Amsterdam to elsewhere in the province, but not to Emmermeer. The addiction treatment centre will relocated to the Kop van Zuid medical care complex on the Boermarkerweg. Starting in November, the centre will have space for 27 patients, and in 2019, the care facilities on the Parallelweg in Emmen will also move to the Boermarkerweg.