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Chamber Supports Ritter Center MOU and Relocation Efforts

August 31, 2016
Chamber supports recent deliberation of City Council and final approval of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ritter Center concerning operational changes at the center’s premises.

Ritter Center has been a valued Chamber member since 1984 and we are very supportive of the services that they provide to the neediest in our community. However, we have recently seen an increase in the amount of complaints we receive from businesses located in the area relative to the negative impact that the homeless have on our Downtown.  Ritter Center has increased its footprint in the last few years and added more services to meet the growing demand of its clients. This new intensity has caused the Center to outgrow its current location and we are now at a pivotal point. We agree that making changes to the center’s daily operations (removing permanent showers and making them mobile, relocating the food pantry for homeless individuals) and updating regular processes (modifying mail service to only active, local clients) will have a positive influence on the neighborhood and still allow for services to be provided temporarily, while leadership at the organization works to find an appropriate new location that better suits the needs of its clients.
The Chamber leadership is standing ready to assist the City and Ritter Center during this transitional time to identify potential sites and will work to educate the public on the need for caring for the most vulnerable in our community at the same time have a thriving Downtown that is welcoming to visitors, employers and residents

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