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The Homeless Voice Concerns Over Salvation Army Shelter

The debate over whether the former Gold's Gym location in Springfield will re-open as the new salvation army homeless shelter continues/WRSP

The debate over whether the former Gold's Gym location in Springfield will re-open as the new Salvation Army homeless shelter continues. A number of residents in Ward 2 are against the proposal, but we're getting a better idea of how the people who would use the shelter feel.

Just a block over from the St. John's Breadline is what's left of the original Salvation Army Homeless shelter.

"It was somewhere to go. That's good enough for me," said Stephanie Armstrong, who is homeless.

She's been homeless since the age of 13 and says she's always looking for a place for her and her family to sleep at night.

But since the 6th Street location shut down, she's forced to walk everywhere. Armstrong says if the Salvation Army shelter opens up on the east side instead of near what she calls "core services for the homeless," it could pose a problem and mean a further walk for the homeless.

Places like the St. John's Breadline and the Washington Street Mission that supply those in need with free meals, warm clothes and other resources. She and others agree on one thing: the proposed location at the old Gold's Gym.

"We do need the shelter. Basically there's a lot of people that need to get off the streets," said Reginald Weatherspoon, who is also homeless.

Weatherspoon says the homeless population is growing. He says when its cold out, there are times when shelters turn families away when they hit capacity.

"I sleep outside on abandoned porches as well as riding my bike around town to stay warm," said Weatherspoon.

That's why they say an extra shelter is needed. Still , city leaders have concerns.

"I don't think we've looked at all the options involving the Salvation Army," said Ward 2 Alderman Herman Senor.

Tuesday the city council will vote on the ordinance to extend the TIFF agreement with the current Salvation Army property.

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