Compassion House Support
Compassion House is a home to shelter our American military personnel (veterans) who are struggling to survive. It is not a homeless shelter in the traditional sense, and certainly not a halfway house, but a transition home for veterans seeking to get their lives back after enduring hardships. Our goal is to help house, counsel, feed, educate, and find employment to assist our military family return to mainstream society as productive members. This includes providing support groups and counseling sessions to any military service member returning from a deployment and in need of extra assistance. Neighbors are seeking to have the shelter vacated and dissolved, ostensibly based on zoning regulations and are threatening legal action if the city of Culpeper does not meet their demands. The Culpeper zoning adminstrator has reviewed the request and petition and determined that Compassion House does not violate the Culpeper Code, however, the residents are still threatening legal action. Local neighbors were invited to an Open House at Compassion House on May 17th, but none of them showed. Considering that other activities may have precluided their attendance, another Open House will be held on June 14 (approx) in order to allow neighbors to meet the residents of Compassion House and see that they are not the \"veterans with chemical dependencies\" that threaten their safety and security as the complainants proffer. A thorough screening process is conducted for all potential Compassion House residents. First, each veteran must provide proof of military service submitting their DD Form 214 and their Veterans Affairs identification card. The Deane Outreach Ministry conducts criminal background checks on all prospective residents, checks their identity against the Virginia State Police Registry of Sex Offenders, and conducts random drug screening (urinalysis) tests before new residents are added. For current residents, background checks were requested on 8 May, and random urinalysis will begin shortly. No drugs or alcohol are permitted at Compassion House. Claims by neighbors that residents are chemically dependent are without merit, however, the Deanes understand the concern of local residents and will conduct periodic, random drug testing to protect both the veterans and the local residents. Smoking tobacco products is permitted on the back deck. Residents have house rules (including a provision that they provide 30% of their income to support house expenses) and must sign an agreement prior to admission. This petition seeks to encourage people with issues or concerns about Compassion House to get to know the residents by stopping by to visit during the local open house events that will be held quarterly (at a minimum). The petition also seeks to encourage Culpeper city officials to support the zoning administrator\'s formal determination in this matter that the Compassion House does not violate city ordinances and that local neighbors do not have \"standing\" to take legal action to vacate and dissolve Compassion House.