Don’t Let the City Block Our Lockers!
[This hearing has been postponed until June 21st. Check the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition’s website for updates]
When City Council voted against funding storage lockers, the Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship (FCMF) began fundraising. Thanks to generous donors, the Fellowship has everything they need to install lockers. But now the City is creating new obstacles.
On May 31st, the Planning and Zoning Board will be meeting to discuss whether to permit the FCMF to bring lockers to our community. Opponents are arguing that providing safe storage to people in need is not a typical church function. There will be an opportunity for public comment: we need people to come and explain why this project should move forward.
- Lockers will not significantly change the way the FCMF property is used. People already come and go from the property at all hours, including during Friday nights and Sunday mornings when the church shares warmth and food with people in need, and during weekdays, when Faith Family Hospitality provides services on-site for families experiencing homelessness.
- Access to church property will be regulated in exactly the same way it is now. The only changes will be twenty secure lockers (with an application, screening process, and rules for all the people who use them), improved lighting on one side of the building, and the addition of a security camera.
- The FCMF moved forward on lockers after repeated assurances from the City that lockers are a permitted use of their property. For instance, a January 11, 2018 memo from Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich states: “Lockers are allowed in this zone district if FCMF finds the funding elsewhere.”
- Although it is only a small pilot program, these lockers are very important to our community. A person experiencing homelessness must carry most of what they need at all times. This can be an intensely heavy burden, both physically and emotionally. Safely-stored belongings leave a person more able to attend to other needs, including finding a place to call home.
- Adequate storage options are essential for health, stability, and human dignity. For more information about why lockers are important, and what’s already happened, see the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition’s website: http://fccan.org/fchc/lockers-