Talking about Fresh Start - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Talking about Fresh Start

Kennedy, neighbors discuss options for harassment problems

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Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A nuisance hotline, neighborhood watch and photographing repeat offenders.

These could help address issues with the Fresh Start homeless service facility on east Sherman Avenue, said Mike Kennedy, Coeur d'Alene City Council member, on Wednesday night.

"The goal is, how do we improve the situation right now, while we work at long-term strategies?" said Kennedy.

His suggestions were made while mitigating a meeting between east Sherman area businesses, residents and Fresh Start representatives at City Hall.

The city legal department is still investigating how many harassment and disorderly problems originate at Fresh Start, Kennedy said.

In the meantime, he said, neighbors can help collect information.

"There is a legitimate legal case that needs to be built, as to whether Fresh Start is the problem," he said. "We don't know that yet."

Kennedy announced that he has established a new hotline, 758-0608, where folks can leave messages describing any property or general harassment issues, so the city can analyze common problems.

He also suggested that in low-risk situations, residents take photos of individuals causing any problems. Those folks can potentially be trespassed, he said, or turned away from Fresh Start for violating its behavior rules.

Kennedy also provided a new e-mail address,, where folks can share photos and anecdotes that will be viewed by Kennedy, city law enforcement and the Fresh Start board.

"The intention is to gather information, gather data," Kennedy said.

He would also like to see block watch leaders created in the near future, he added.

The roughly 40 individuals present raised varying opinions of these ideas, as well as some of their own.

Sam Wallin, who owns several units in the east Sherman area, argued that policing the area shouldn't be put on neighbors' shoulders.

"Why should we do that? The problem is Fresh Start," he said.

He thinks the nonprofit should simply leave its location of two years at 1524 E. Sherman Ave.

"Should we all move? Is that simpler than Fresh Start moving?" Wallin said.

Carolyn Lingard, who lives near Fresh Start, said she is afraid to let her children play in the front yard because of homeless individuals who frequently pass by.

She would like to see Fresh Start require all clients to show ID, she said, to ensure proper background checks.

"At least knowing who they are, you know who you're dealing with," she said.

Rev. Pat Bell, Fresh Start board president, said that's an idea the board is looking at.

Rocco Zito said he has had trouble renting out units in the area because of loitering homeless individuals.

He suggested the county and city just put them to work.

"Let them (the two governments) pay for it," Zito said. "Why should I have to pay for it?"

The city doesn't have any extra jobs to give out, Kennedy pointed out.

"It sounds simple and lovely, but we have a real-world situation," he said.

Fresh Start volunteer Suzanne Henderson said she has seen individuals get jobs by using Fresh Start services, like the free hair cuts she provides.

She criticized those who were frightened of the drop-in center bringing in people with criminal backgrounds.

"You can't shut somebody out because of something they did. We all have rights," she said. "In 24 hours, you could be a client at Fresh Start. Any of us could."

The nonprofit is willing to move, Bell said.

It simply isn't plausible at this point, he said, now that Fresh Start has a 7-year lease.

"We're in a place where we have a good facility," he said. "We don't have anywhere else to go."

This was the latest of a series of meetings about Fresh Start, the drop-in center that provides services like laundry, snacks, Internet and showers for homeless individuals.

Neighboring residents and business owners have complained about clients loitering and harassing people. A petition collected 60 signatures supporting Fresh Start's relocation.

Fresh Start staff insists the troublemakers are a fraction of the thousands who rely on the nonprofit each year.

Kennedy pointed out that there are long-term goals to end homelessness completely in Coeur d'Alene, as well as revitalize east Sherman Avenue.

"That won't happen overnight," he said.

He proposed having these meetings about Fresh Start and homelessness every month.

"This is not going to be easy to solve," he said. "If we close Fresh Start tomorrow, it's not going to go away."

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  • Walkthetalk posted at 10:02 am on Sat, Jul 23, 2011.

    Walkthetalk Posts: 6

    Jullee- I never said there weren't nice houses in that area, whether you like it or not that part of CDA has a reputation of being the run down part of town. Having said that, there are alot of hard working people in that area and it has never deterred myself or friends and familyfrom doing business there. Nope not new to the area lived here most of my life. I know every nook and cranny of this town and I love it! I hear you...would not want to live some place where people where being disrespectful like that...however this is not Fresh Starts responsibility. To get the nieghborhood your looking for, you would have to remove all the halway houses, transitional housing, hotels, bars, treatment facilities and bus stops that are in your area....good luck with that!

  • Spikey posted at 2:58 pm on Fri, Jul 22, 2011.

    Spikey Posts: 387

    Mike Kennedy has how many, 8 or 9 children. I can't help but wonder how he would feel if Fresh Start was in his neighborhood and his children couldn't go outside. Boy I bet that would be a different story. The city could negate the 7 year lease based on the public nuisance this causes. The lease is no excuse. If all the neighbors stopped paying their taxes based on lack of city protection, I'll bet Fresh Start would be history as it should be. Just another CDA sleezy situation.

  • Jullee posted at 12:15 pm on Fri, Jul 22, 2011.

    Jullee Posts: 566

    Walk the talk...You are sooo wrong. that area of town was and parts of it still are nice where homeowners take care of "their homes" You must not be from around here or you would know that part of town it history and the nice people who live there and have for many years. The home owners pay taxes and should have a right to a peaceful safe neighborhood. Most of the people who are taking advantage of the shelter are druggies / drunks/ and welfare who take advantage of giving , nice people.
    The people of CDA are charitable and concerned when someone is down on their luck and would love to help someone who "wants" to better their lives ,that is not the issue. The issue are rude takers that don't care if they pee in your yard or throw their cigarette butts on the ground, threaten people security in their own homes as long as they get their freebies.

  • RadRevD posted at 10:08 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    ODD that Fresh Start fails to register with the Idaho secretary of state.
    ODD that 1524 East Sherman property is not listed on the Kootenai tax roles.
    ODD that unregistered Fresh Start has a SEVEN YEAR LEASE...with who?
    Assumably Fresh Start is associated with the Kiawana's Club that holds an interesting membership.
    Perhaps Doug Eastwood or mike McDowell could shed some light.

  • The Truth posted at 8:04 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    yawn.....whine, whine whine....

  • Walkthetalk posted at 8:02 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Walkthetalk Posts: 6 dare the people of Fresh Start put a facility in our town to give a hand to people in act as if they are the reason that idiots are running around doing stupid things in your nieghborhood..well I've got news for you the area where Fresh Start is located has ALWAYS been the run down part of Coeur d Alene and there are several halfway houses, a substance abuse treatment facility and many convicted criminals that live where you live regardless if Fresh Start was there are not! Pointing the finger at Fresh Start is just a cop out. Yes, in perfect world it would be great if they relocated to an area that was strictly for businesses, however they are locked into a seven year lease..and yes maybe the landlord will work with them, but blaming them for individuals who are running amuck is just ridiculous. If there are really individuals who are standing in your yard taking a leak..then start taking video of them and or pictures to turn over to the police and Fresh Start so they can turn them away for services. We don't live in a perfect world people!

  • Mary Souza posted at 2:45 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Mary Souza Posts: 813

    This controversy over Fresh Start's damaging effect on an established neighborhood has been discussed for several months. A petition signed by 60 neighbors was presented to the city council on July 5th.

    So why, in the midst of this uproar, would Fresh Start sign a SEVEN year lease on the facility? Seems to me they just thumbed their nose at the neighborhood.

  • WannaBe JD posted at 12:31 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    WannaBe JD Posts: 110

    Citizen: Hello Police, yes there are three adult males urinating in my front yard in front of my children.
    Police: Calm down now, don't do anything stupid, we will have an officer out there in a couple of hours after they get done with the more important calls (since taxpayer blow back has made funding that much more difficult) don't take the law into your hands or nothing like that OK.

    Later that day, hello police, this is your local homeless advocate Howie, I would like to report a HATE crime, yes they guy across the street chased three of my clients out of his yard with a firearm and called them names. Ten minutes later Citizen is being booked on Assault.

  • Tune1 posted at 12:25 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Tune1 Posts: 24

    Tempter - Scary!!! It only takes one Fresh Start BUMM to have something really bad happen in this neighborhood. That is what we have been trying to tell the city. You can not have criminal transients hanging out around our homes, with nothing to do but drink, smoke and do drugs and expect nothing to happen. There is not one logical reason a homeless drop in shelter should be as close to an established residential area with children in it as it is. If Kennedy and company think McEuen Field was expensive, wait until they have to cough up the doe for a lawsuit because of refusal to declare Fresh Start a public nuisance and move it. As for where to move it, seems like a Howie - Kennedy problem, they are the ones that have created this to a point where it is unmanageable now. How much more proof do they need!

  • concerned neighbor posted at 12:09 pm on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    concerned neighbor Posts: 1

    Placing Fresh Start in a residential was an ill conceived idea. No one is suggesting that Fresh Start close...just relocate to an area where children are not targets for criminals...let's not forget the Joseph Duncan case. An industrial area of CDA would be more suitable. As far as a seven year lease is concerned...try negotiating with the landlord. Would Fresh Start prefer to wait until something catastrophic happens and then possibly be held liable? Isn't it interesting that less than one block away, there is another homeless shelter run by a reputable agency for the homeless...St. Vincent de Paul. There are no complaints from citizens about this well run shelter. Perhaps that's because St. Vincent de Paul does not cater to those who do not want help with their additions, etc., and they enforce their policies (i.e. no drugs, no alcohol, etc.). The homeless are always going to be around. It's idealistic and unrealistic to believe a community can alleviate homelessness. Services for those who want to continue to abuse drugs, alcohol, etc. can still be provided, just in another area of town...away from children.

  • tempter posted at 11:21 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    tempter Posts: 186

    The neighborhood should read the following article

  • mister d posted at 10:50 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    This is a tough issue and I sure don't have the answers. I do appreciate Kennedy holding a meeting with vthe interested parties, much better than just ignoring the situation. There are so many issues here that there are no simple answers. I think Fresh Start brings "homeless" people into CDA from other areas because they offer the free services. On the other hand I understand the desire to help those in need. I understand the homeowners feel / know their property values are affected and their sense of security is affected by Fresh Start. On the other hand I read on this site many times people telling the government to stay out of their business and they have rights to do with their property as they wish and i wonder where these people are when it pertains to Fresh Starts properety rights. There are no easy answers to this issue. I don't want "them" in my neighborhood as much as the 16th street residents don't, but what do we do with these individuals who have fallen on hard times, have mental illnesses and can't function in society, or those that choose this lifestyle? Either we want government involved or we don't, which is it. Either we have compassion for others or we dont, which is it? Either we believe in individual property rights,or we don't, which is it. This is not a 16th street neighborhood,problem, it is a CDA problem. Very few people want a facility like this by their homes (me included) but that doesn't solve the problem - and it is a problem. Maybe the next new development request in CDA should be required to have an area for the homeless established, then those that bought into the new development would know what they are getting into rather than putting this type of facility in established areas of town. Think the new houses would sell?

  • RadRevD posted at 9:09 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333 are as shallow as a drop of rain dispersed over a square mile on a hot summer's day!

    At least folks like Jenny perceive the agenda in play.
    Sherman is slated for URA action. It has to be thoroughly blighted first.
    Joe Morris spoke against mega development in his neighborhood.
    BUMMS are Kenedy's response.

  • honorthewolf posted at 9:06 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    honorthewolf Posts: 9

    Good point from inthepines/Frank - Howie and Mikey,City Council and Board of Fresh Start are not going to change one thing - relocation of fresh start is not going to happen. Howie and Company have a sense of entitlement - of course they want documentation put on the shoulders of people living in the area - why would any of them get off their big fat bottoms to help in that regard? Again, is anybody looking into the books of this creepy organization? How can Howie service 3000 people (his number) when the state of ID documents something totally different? Howie, Mikey, Board and City Council - how much information do you need to gather? How much more data do you need to gather? I am approached several times a week by homeless in the downtown area, sitting at stoplights t/o CDA in my vehicle where they walk right up to the car (carrying bear spray now), Starbucks and many other facilities.

  • Jenny posted at 8:56 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Jenny Posts: 47

    You could have cut the hypocrisy in the room last night with a knife. Howie keeps telling us there has to be a bus route close to Fresh Start so the clients can get around town. In the next breath Kennedy is telling us they might take the bus route of the area to elevate some of the problem. The citizens of Coeur d’Alene are afraid to ride the bus with the BUMM’s that ride around for free all day. A “neighbor”, funny how Kennedy knew all the pro homeless people in the room by name, was talking about a gentleman that was arrested, had multiple criminal offenses in several states and multiple felonies including bank robbery. In court he said that he checked in with Fresh Start every morning at 7:00 AM, got his mail their and listed his address as Fresh Start. The very next do-gooder from Fresh Start said they checked ID’s and didn’t allow people with criminal records to use the facility. Again, oh the hypocrisy. Next time you see a transient or 10 around town remember who is bringing them into our beautiful city and VOTE THEM OUT. All these so proud of themselves, pat themselves on the back because they cut hair or volunteer do get to go home at night to a safe environment and our neighborhood is left there 24/7. Not one of them would volunteer to have Fresh Start in their neighborhood.

  • InThePines posted at 8:36 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    InThePines Posts: 146

    "The intention is to gather information, gather data," Kennedy said.

    This quote says it all....maybe in several years they will get around to protecting the people in the neighborhood who pay the freight while attempting to protect their children. Kennedy's solution indicates he should begin his campaign for holding a Congressional office. Plausible solutions involve moving the clients to Martinson's guest home behind his house and/or to Kennedy's home so the F.S. clients could visit with his multiple children?

  • Justthree posted at 8:10 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Justthree Posts: 68

    The Steve Adams Allstate Agency is located at 1324 E. Sherman. Steve had the courage to challenge the status quo and stand on his principles to run for City Council in Coeur d'Alene. Zito Enterprises is located at 1715 E. Sherman. Rocco Zito and his son Vincent were very visible supporters of Jim Brannon during his City Council bid and were prominently mentioned in the last minute attack piece of Brannon distributed by the Kennedy campaign. Fresh Start at 1524 E. Sherman is situated almost exactly between the two businesses. This is not a snipe at anyone nor a conspiracy theory, but it appears that the City has no real incentive to deal with this problem located in the midst of those spoke out against the incumbents and their policies.

  • lucky5975 posted at 8:06 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    lucky5975 Posts: 44

    RadRevD, your time would be much better spent sitting across from a psychiatrist, rather than that of a computer screen.

  • idahoguy posted at 8:03 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    Is someone going to have to get hurt before they realize drawing these folks into a location to free help which is located with a neighborhood is a very dangerous idea?

    I think it should be relocated outside the area way out in the open with a fence around it and one way in/out. Perhaps a couple double wides way off in a field somewhere?

    Location, location, location....

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:37 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1283

    Gee, just kick the can down the road. Kennedy just couldn't believe the neighbors now could he? It just seems to go against the liberal Kum-by-ya mind set. How about making a decision . It seemed so easy to do when they wanted to spend $40,000,000 of our taxpayer dollars.

  • Randy Myers posted at 7:29 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Interesting issues abounding here. Photographing individuals causing trouble...hmmmmm how about video surveillance for Fresh Start? I think a single frame photo is difficult to "prove" wrong doing. The communication suggested is the most plausible start to opening some eyes about homelessness.

    @Rad Rev...Again off topic, negative and freaky. You are supposedly a man of God. Get down there and offer your help instead of sniping at politicians.

  • RadRevD posted at 6:41 am on Thu, Jul 21, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    What to do with Kennedy's Kousins?
    They represent thousands of votes he depends on.

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