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Old Lamar Elementary School may open again, this time, as a homeless shelter

Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 18:36:23-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — The old Lamar Elementary School building may be opening once again, but this time, as a homeless shelter.

The property sits on the corner of 19th Street and Morris, a few blocks from Spohn Memorial Hospital. But before plans can move forward, they must first be approved by the city zoning commission. That vote on whether or not to transform the old school into a homeless shelter, will happen tomorrow evening.

However some neighbors aren't too happy about the plans for the building. Those who live nearby, like Jose Tapia, worry this will add to the crime problem in the area.

"We're seeing more people, more homeless people here, and it's not a good idea," said Tapia. "There's a lot of drug activity, a lot of drug houses... And there's a lot of prostitution going on here," he added.

Lamar Elementary School, which is about a block away from Tapia's home closed back in 2010. About a year-and-a half ago, the Ed Rachal Foundation bought the building from CCISD.

If the city's zoning commission votes to move forward with the project, the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission, in partnership with the Ed Rachal Foundation, wants to move their shelter into the school.

The building is already undergoing renovations. When it's completed it will allow the shelter to add about 100 more beds than it offers at its current facility.

There will be a court yard with a gym, offices, a laundry facility, and be monitored by shelter workers 24 hours a day.

Those working on the project say it'll be a bigger, nicer space and will provide the homeless community an opportunity to transition into permanent housing. However neighbors like Tapia still aren't happy about the proposed plans.

"They're making a problem, a bigger problem," said Tapia. "We already have enough problems here in this particular neighborhood."

A spokesperson for the Ed Rachal Foundation tells KRIS 6 they hope to have the renovations completed in the next year-and-a-half.

The planning commission meeting is scheduled for 5:30 tomorrow evening at City Hall. The public is invited to attend.