Just In Time For Thanksgiving, Lawyer Sues To Close Homeless centre

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A Houston attorney owns commercial rental property in downtown Houston that is near a homeless shelter.  He wants to shut it down.

Tex Parte Blog:  A lawyer who owns an office building located near The Beacon, a day centre for homeless people in downtown Houston, filed a suit Monday seeking a permanent injunction to shut down the operation on the ground it’s a “private nuisance.” Lawyer Harry C. Arthur seeks a minimum of $250,000 in damages from defendants Christ Church Cathedral and The Beacon to compensate him for the loss of rentals in his building and the loss of its market value. Arthur alleges The Beacon, which is operated by Cathedral Health & Outreach Ministries, has created a “health hazard” in the area.

To be fair, it does sound like the activities outside the shelter could make the area a bit undesirable for renters. “The persons attracted by the free meals, free laundry and other services, urinate, defecate and drop trash in the street, sidewalks, doorways and other private property areas of the neighbours,” Arthur’s filing said.

Perhaps, however, a more accurate filing would have read, “Some of the persons that use the services…” He also mentions frequent drinking, drug use and fights, which many would consider reasonable concerns. (The singing, dancing and music playing he also points to, probably less so.)

Arthur’s complaints, as described by Tex Parte, indicate the issue is more with after hours activities that are outside of the centre’s operating hours and more under the purview of local law enforcement.  Let’s hope the parties can reach a compromise on this one — one that does not result in a church and homeless centre having to pay $250,000.

Read Tex Parte’s full report here.  

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