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Nigh speaks out on homeless, gang members

August 17, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Among the city's growing populations are gang members and homeless people, said Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh in a plea Tuesday to get more attention to issues concerning both groups.

Nigh has long been critical of local homeless services because she said they draw more homeless to the city. Nevertheless, Nigh said during Tuesday's council work session, "We have a homeless issue, and I'm not happy about it."

She suggested the city should not provide money to REACH Inc., a local nonprofit agency that provides homeless services, including a cold-weather shelter.

REACH has received city block grant money in the past. Block grants are supported by the federal government and are not paid by city taxpayers.

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Nigh also urged local officials and residents to attend a seminar on gang activity being given by a city police officer, and also suggested that the city hire more Spanish-speaking police officers.

Regarding gang activity, Nigh said, "It's coming our way. If we are not soon educated on this, we are going to be in the same situation as we are with the drugs. ... They can control a whole city."

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