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Rockford Alderman Expresses Discontent with Shelter Expansion

Could west side development be threatened by too many homeless concentrated in downtown?

ROCKFORD- City Council approves an expansion and consolidation of the Rockford Rescue Mission.

The nearly 25,000 foot addition to its main facility on West State Street will contain up to sixty beds for homeless women and children. 

"It’s going to be an excellent addition and expansion of the program," said Rockford Rescue Mission’s Attorney Jim Tuneberg.

But while no one objects to what the Rescue Mission is doing to help the homeless Rockford Alderwoman Venita Hervey objects to where they are expanding in their current location on West State Street in downtown.

"I tell you. You don't live there. You don't see it. You don't deal with it, and it doesn't affect your families and your children," said Hervey.

Hervey says the Mission's location piles problems onto an already struggling area and she fears this expansion will only make things worse.

"I don't care about all of the conditions that you have here. Those conditions do nothing when my children have to walk to school and see people lying under bushes or in porches on vacant houses. They ask you 'are they dead people?'" said Hervey.

We asked Rescue Mission officials to discuss the plans for expansion, but they declined.

Eyewitness News was given a glimpse of those plans from the city. They contain page after page of calls to the police and fire departments at 715 West State Street over the last two years.

Expansion plans council approved by a 12 to 1 margin.

The Rescue Mission's Cedar Street Women's Crisis Center is slated to close as part of the consolidation.


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