In our society today, it feels like we may not have enough people willing to contribute to the fight against homelessness. However, nonprofits, like Athlete’s C.A.R.E., have made it their mission to engage various groups of people to join the fight and have had success in helping thousands of homeless people. With these great strides, however, there are always those who try to hinder the progress back.
This winter has been far from easy for homeless individuals. Many churches and restaurants have been opening their doors in attempt to help shelter individuals from the cold and supply warm meals that are rare during this time of year. Some of these attempts to supply the homeless with much needed warmth and food in Rockford, Illinois are being challenged by local officials. With snow expected this week, the Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford Church that usually opens their door to the homeless during winter storms is put into a predicament. The city of Rockford has informed the leaders of the church that “they are no longer permitted to act as a temporary warming center and homeless shelter because they do not have the adequate zoning permits.” The city claims that the church does not meet fire safety equipment standards and that it is not zoned as shelter.
This warning sent by city officials is preposterous. Here is a church going above and beyond to spend their own money to provide a shelter for the local homeless people and the city is threatening to penalize them. If the church closes for this upcoming snow storm, where will these homeless people seek shelter during the storm? Has the city of Rockford proposed any alternatives to help these people?
It is unclear whether or not the Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford church will obey the cities warning and close its doors to those in need, or if they will disregard it in order to potentially save lives from the expected freezing temperatures. If we remove the support of charity and those who open their doors to help the needy, hungry, and homeless, who can these people turn to when they cannot support themselves?
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By Ryan Dodds