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Lynn may mandate ID checks at shelters

LYNN – For security purposes, identification may soon be required for those seeking a place to hang their hat for the evening at the Lynn Shelter or to enjoy a warm meal at My Brother’s Table.The leases for the two organizations, which share the multi-service center on Willow Street with other organizations, expire today and Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr. is pushing for identification checks to spot convicted sex offenders or those who have outstanding warrants.In 2005, the city issued a non-renewal notice to the multi-service center and the organizations have been in negotiations regarding a future lease ever since. The last meeting took place in July.Executive Director of My Brother’s Table Ilia Stacy said she is hopeful the services will be able to stay in the current location regardless of Clancy’s request.”We want to be here and we want to be good neighbors,” she said. “But we had our kitchen renovated in, I believe, 1992 and if we had to move to another location that didn’t have the same amenities, we would be looking at over $1 million to be up to code.”Stacy said the lease was first created as a 10-year lease from 1991-2001, then as a five-year renewal lease expiring this year.Despite the expiration, Stacy said the official terms of the lease state that the services at the center are allowed to remain at the site for up to three years to allow for renegotiating, if the organizations remain in good faith with the city.”Eviction is not on the horizon, but the shelter has been attempting to get a new lease from the city for quite some time,” she said. “The city, as a landlord, has some expectations, but we aren’t being asked to vacate the premises.”Clancy said in order to renew the leases a few requirements would have to be met, namely obtaining identification of those wishing to enter the center for safety reasons.”We only want the identification for warrant checks and sex offenders to protect the public,” he said. “If someone has an outstanding warrant, police should have the ability to check on that.”In addition, Clancy said he would like to keep the “serial inebriates” away from children who frequent the area for their safety.”If the person has other issues from the past and is now sober, I’m not going to pass judgment,” he said. “But we don’t want these people anywhere near Girls Inc. which is right up the street. I would be derelict to not ask for this and frankly, I don’t want them here.”In the past, the shelter admitted those under the influence if they behaved and weren’t unruly. However, a “dry shelter” policy was instituted in August 2006 at the facility, which bans intoxicated visitors from entering.Clancy said since the ban, some progress has been made with the shelter, but little headway has been made with My Brother’s Table.”The shelter has gone dry, thanks to Shelter Director Marjorie St. Paul, and they’ve at least come a long way,” he said. “They’ve taken steps forward, less of the Table.”Stacy said Clancy’s request to gain identification from guests would be a radical change for the facility, which is often short staffed with volunteers.”We don’t have an intake process, people eat and leave here,” she said. “We’re not an organization or an agency, were a ministry and we’re not in a position to decide who should or shouldn’t be fed.”Clancy said he stands firm on his request.”Neither has agreed yet to identification checks, but hopefully reasonable heads can prevail,” he said. “However, these appear to be two of the more prickly issues on the table.”Calls placed to St. Paul were not immediately returned Thursday.

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