The New Life Day Center on North Martin Luther King opened its doors to Lexington's homeless population yesterday. Organizers say it's a place for people to go during the daytime when overnight shelters close, but people who live near the new center are concerned.
"Our problem with it is that it seemed to have been sprung upon us very quickly. Suddenly it was happening," says Billy Glasscock.
They say they were given only a couple of days' notice about the center's opening.
"On Friday morning, there was a flier under the door stating it would be opening on Monday. I don't have anything at all against homeless centers, but it would have been nice to have some advance notice so we could prepare," says Paul Purcell, owner of Paul's Foreign Auto. His shop is on the same block as the center.
Billy Glasscock lives on Third Street, just around the corner from the center. He says he's had issues with homeless shelters in the past.
"There was a lot of panhandling and some rough stuff. we're the ones that have to clean it up," says Glasscock.
The center's director, Steve Polston, says he wants to have a positive impact.
"We want to make the neighborhood better, not worse," he says.
Polston says he understands why his neighbors are concerned as says he'll work hard to make sure his center isn't a problem.
"We did under-communicate and we're now trying to reach out and plug those gaps. If you don't communicate well, then people assume the worst," he says.
Polston says he'll do everything he can to make sure his clients aren't a nuisance.
"If we can make them better people, we feel they'll go out and be better in the neighborhoods," he says.
Polston says Lexington Police will add a patrol in the area.