NAACP threatens legal action over new homeless shelter


The Springfield City Council voted to give the go ahead to transform an abandoned building on the city’s east side into a homeless shelter.

Those opposed are not backing down without a fight.

The NAACP and community leaders from the east side are threatening legal action if the plans for the shelter don’t change. 

The President of the NAACP Teresa Haley believes the city is using the east side as a dumping ground for problems the other side of the city doesn’t want.

She made this argument at the city council meeting last week.

Even though the council voted and the ordinance passed, she wants the mayor to stop it in its tracks.

Haley, along with several other black community leaders, called on the mayor to veto the ordinance. The mayor has until Tuesday to veto the ordinance. The NAACP has already started preparing to file a lawsuit against the city if he doesn’t.

“This building is located along reconciliation way,” Haley said. “What kind of reconciliation are we doing by putting a homeless shelter on the East side. We already have over 20 social services located on the east side, and 2 homeless shelters already.”

The NAACP is not against the new homeless shelter as a concept. The location is the problem. They claim that putting the shelter on the east side of town would only further segregate Springfield. 

Even if Mayor Langfelder vetoed the legislation, it wouldn’t mean much.

The city council needs seven votes to override a mayor’s veto, and the ordinance passed by an 8 to 2 vote. 

Haley said that she is planning another meeting with the mayor, but this one will also include the other parties that will fund the center. 

If a compromise can’t be reached, and the city’s plan moves forward as expected, Haley said the NAACP will file a lawsuit against the city.

Mayor Langfelder said in a statement that he is holding another meeting with community leaders and shelter stakeholders to work this out before that happens.

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