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Beverly Neighborhood Opposes Proposed Homeless Center

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Proposal would turn old storage building into housing for veterans.

Proposal would turn old storage building into housing for veterans.

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BEVERLY (CBS) – A battle over where to house homeless veterans is brewing in Beverly.

North Shore Veterans Counseling Services a shelter for homeless vets has offered counseling and programs in Beverly for the last 25 years.

Still its treasurer Victor Capozzi says it’s against a plan to convert an old storage building into 32 housing units for veterans.

Nearby neighbors agree but they insist they’re not against vets; it’s the project that just doesn’t work for the neighborhood.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

“There’s absolutely no parking in this neighborhood for anybody else,” says Capozzi.

Rocco Pinciaro, who lives across the street from the proposed site, says the people who live in his building are worried about their safety, “they’re all going to have different issues it could be dangerous to us.”

Not to mention that the units would be just a few hundred feet from North Shore Veterans Counseling Services and across the train tracks from yet another homeless shelter.

Capozzi says the owner and developer of the building also aren’t in the business of working with vets and their needs, “I don’t think they understand the gravity of what they’re trying to take on.”

But Betsy Collins of Peabody Properties, a partner in this venture with Windover Construction, says their project would be different from North Shore and she says they already have to the federal funding and state backing to build units with appropriate counseling and support services.

“It’s a long term stable and more dignified approach. Instead of a shelter or short term transition,” explains Collins.

As far as parking, Collins says they plan to use area lots and garages but are hoping to attract veterans who depend on public transportation.

The project is estimated to cost five million dollars, all of which will be paid for with federal and state grants.

If approved renovations could start as early as next January and could be completed by next Fall.

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