Neighborhood dispute over Longmont homeless services belies deeper divide

In front of the Heart of Longmont church in the Kiteley neighborhood, a weathered tri-colored sign tells passersby “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”

Curtis Cramer, who is experiencing homelessness, gets a serving of food during a communal meal provided by the Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement program at the Heart of Longmont Church in July. Some nearby residents blame the church for drawing a group of transient homeless people have started living in Athletic Field Park, which is across the street.

Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera

Curtis Cramer, who is experiencing homelessness, gets a serving of food during a communal meal provided by the Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement program at the Heart of Longmont Church in July. Some nearby residents blame the church for drawing a group of transient homeless people have started living in Athletic Field Park, which is across the street.

But some Kiteley residents are not happy with new neighbors they say have recently taken up residence in Athletic Field Park, between 10th and 11th avenues and Kimbark and Emery streets.

Pam Spencer lives in the neighborhood and says that a group of transient homeless people have started living in the park.

Spencer blames the Heart of Longmont church — located across the street from the northeast corner of the park — and the nonprofit Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement for drawing the group to the neighborhood by providing homeless services three days a week. She is starting a petitioning effort to ask Heart of Longmont to move their homeless services out of the Kiteley neighborhood.

“What we’ve seen this summer, which is new, is that now several folks have taken up residence in our park and it’s expanding,” she said. “We’ve had more theft and more filth. Our parks are full of needles and drug paraphernalia. (The church) has brought this directly into a residential neighborhood. If you want to provide services, find a more appropriate place to provide them, more of a commercial area where it’s not going to impede on our rights. So now, (the homeless) rights have overtaken our rights.”

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