They say a Salvation Army facility like the one Jackson was living in at the time of the little boy's murder could be returning to their neighborhood.
The men’s shelter on North Main Street closed in 2018. It faced intense public pressure after Flores’ 2016 murder, though Salvation Army officials blamed the closure on expenses.
Lifelong residents Linda Vallejos, Claudia Macias and others say they’re not against helping the homeless, they just don’t want a return of the problems that went away after the facility shut its doors.
“Homeless, transients, everything coming in here, walking the streets, doing their drugs, urinating in front of your house,” said Vallejos.
“There was a man and a woman having sex in front of children,” recalled Macias.
She added, “I sent my son to Lamar High School, I sent my daughter to DeBakey in the Med Center to get ‘em away from this.”
During a press conference Friday, Stella Mireles-Walters, who founded volunteer neighborhood patrol group Safe Walk Home after Flores’ murder, said a Salvation Army representative told the community they’re planning to reopen the facility soon.
“We do not want them to open the doors,” she said.
If they do, Mireles-Walters is calling for the nonprofit to cover the cost of 24-hour constable patrol at the facility and surrounding area, which includes four schools.
She also wants clients to sign an agreement to not loiter, camp, expose or relieve themselves, at the risk of losing services.
“Salvation Army has visited with me,” said County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who grew up in the near northside and represents the area. “They have indicated that this will not be a shelter type of facility. It’ll be administrative for the most part, some case management, but not (an) overnight facility.”
Commissioner Garcia said the Salvation Army owns the property, so what they do with it is their call.
The commissioner is considering basing some Harris County Sheriff’s Office patrols at the building.
“As people in the community that have lived here like all their life, I think that we should be able to say what happens in our neighborhood,” said Macias, who found out about the possible facility reopening through media. “That’s just so unfair.”
KHOU reached out to Salvation Army officials for more details on the plan and response to community concerns but had not heard back as of Friday afternoon.