News & Politics

City Orders Church to Stop Caring for the Homeless

Authorities in Rockford, Illinois say that the church, which houses the homeless during the winter, is in violation of municipal codes.

Photo Credit: RossHelen/Shutterstock

An Illinois city has told a church that it must stop housing the homeless because they’re in violation of municipal codes.  Authorities in Rockford, Illinois gave the news to leaders of the Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford church last week, even as cold weather continues, the news outlet WIFR reported.

“Anytime the temperatures would drop below 30 degrees, we would just open up the doors of the church, so people could come in and get out of the cold,” the church’s Pastor Fredericks told a local news outlet.

City officials say the church doesn’t have adequate fire safety and isn’t zoned to serve as a homeless shelter.  “You got people out in the cold," church owner David Frederick told WIFR, "and I think the city should allow us to stay open all night."

It’s the latest example of cities cracking down on those who feed or shelter the homeless.  In February, the city of Columbia, South Carolina announced it would require groups that feed the homeless to obtain a permit and pay a fee.  

 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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