Homeless shelter backs off plan to expand in Plano



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Posted on August 10, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 10 at 11:26 PM

The Samaritan Inn

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MCKINNEY — The Samaritan Inn, Collin County's only homeless shelter, said it will no longer push Plano to open its own homeless facility.

Late Tuesday night, the Plano City Council indefinitely postponed applying for $700,000 in federal funds to buy land for its own shelter.

So The Samaritan Inn — which had volunteered to run a Plano shelter and make interest payments — said it will now back off, though it will still offer help to the city whenever asked.

Even if Plano isn't ready to take part in its own shelter, the city tells us it has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Samaritan Inn over the last 20 years, which is earmarked for homeless residents and also to provide rent and utility assistance to prevent people from ever losing their home.

"Plano absolutely helps out," Samaritan Inn director Lynne Sipiora said. "We are very grateful for all the support we get from them."

The McKinney shelter is about to open a new wing, she added, which includes 40 more beds for 10 new families.

"We're tired of seeing moms and dads and kids sleeping in their cars and checking back every day to see if we have an opening," Sipiora said. "I expect that when this wing is open, we'll fill it in a week."

That's how much demand exists in the suburbs.

Plano city officials tell us nothing else to help the homeless is currently under consideration, although the city will continue to award thousands of dollars in grant money to organizations that provide assistance.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com