More News:

May 24, 2024

City Council could subpoena Mayor Parker over plans for Fairmount shelter

Councilmember Jeffery Young introduced legislation to hold hearings on the proposed triage and wellness center.

Government Cherelle Parker
City Council subpoena Mayor Parker Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

A resolution passed in City Council on Thursday claims that the Parker administration has been "scant" in the details about a proposed wellness center in Fairmount.

Councilmember Jeffery Young introduced legislation at a City Council meeting Thursday asking Mayor Cherelle Parker's administration to produce documents and participate in hearings about plans for the Fairmount homeless shelter, which is in his district.  

The facility at 2100 W. Girard Ave. recently sparked controversy after the city quietly added beds with plans to expand the former nursing home as a wellness and triage center for people with addiction. 

MORE: Parker's plans for Fairmount shelter has some neighbors worried, but Penn expert says don't fear a crime uptick

The resolution, which passed unanimously yesterday, comes after critics say there's been too much secrecy around the facility. The legislation grants City Council the right to subpoena Parker and members of her administration to attend the hearings and hand over documents about the center.

The resolution claims the administration has been "scant" on details about proposed treatment options, center operators and care providers, existing crisis alternatives in Kensington, and law enforcement's role in getting residents to the triage facility. It also noted that city officials have called the shelter a wellness center, not a triage facility, but declined to distinguish between those terms. 

"The Parker Administration has pursued these measures in an extremely short time frame, sacrificing prudent policymaking for expediency as reflected by the Parker Administration’s unwillingness to provide consistent explanations for the actions they’re taking in real time," the resolution reads. 

Parker's administration declined to comment on the resolution. 

Young did not return a request for comment on the measure, but he's made his lack of support for the triage center clear. He claims there's been no engagement with his office or the community in the surrounding neighborhoods of Fairmount, Brewerytown, Sharswood and Francisville. 

"I do not support a triage center at this location without undergoing a thorough review and discussion with the community to address potential implications," Young said in a statement earlier this month. "It is unacceptable to undertake such a significant project without consulting the communities and stakeholders who will be most affected." 

Young also introduced legislation in early May blocking the city from renewing the site, which the council held a hearing about this week. Parker didn't send a representative to the hearing, but submitted written testimony saying her administration opposed this. 

In March, Parker proposed spending $100 million on triage and wellness centers in an effort to end open-air drug markets in Kensington. During a budget hearing on May 6, the city's managing director, Adam Thiel, reportedly declined to offer a clear answer on whether that money included funds for the Fairmount center. 

"These actions track with a pattern of secrecy that has soiled trust in the Parker Administration from residents of the Fairmount community and across Philadelphia," the resolution says. 

The Girard Avenue center has served as a homeless shelter since 2022 and the facility had 48 residents as of MondayIn April, renovations began to add 75 beds to the space.