A church in Dundalk, Maryland, faced a fine of $12,000 for allowing homeless people to sleep on its property.
Patapsco United Methodist Church may have had to pay a $12,000 fine to Baltimore County for doing what the church pastor described as “God's work” by giving homeless people a place to stay.
“I can’t control who sleeps here at night unless I’m here all day and all night. Homelessness, poverty, it’s chronic,” explained Patapsco United Methodist Church's the Rev. Katie Grover, reports WBFF. “At this point in time, the best we can do as a church is just be a place of refuge and not be chasing people who are just trying to sleep."
But that sort of sympathy wasn't felt by Chester Bartko, who runs a business next to the church, and said he has been victimized by the homeless people.
"This tree killed by bums dumping urine,” Bartko said. “If the church won’t conform to community standards, what else is left? The county and state has facilities for homeless people. They shouldn’t be here living like this."
The Patapsco United Methodist Church was then given a $12,000 fine from Baltimore County. But the story spread on social media and county officials have now rescinded the fine after a mutual agreement was reached.
"Our aim in this was never punitive. It was always compliance and to find a middle ground," Don Mohler, a county spokesman, told The Baltimore Sun.
"The church has its mission, and the community has their issues as well,” said County Councilman Todd Crandell. “You can certainly see both sides. I'm thankful that it worked out the way that it did."