The Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Rockford, Ill., has been told by the city it can no longer provide help to the homeless.
Apostolic Pentecostal has been providing the homeless a warming center and temporary shelter in the cold winter months. The city has put a stop to its generosity because of zoning issues and safety hazards, reports WIFR.
“They came in Wednesday and said that they have decided they were not going to let us open back up, and that we were in violation of code,” said Pastor Dave Frederick.
In addition to not meeting code and zoning standards, the city claims the large amount of people staying in the church is a fire hazard, reports mystateline.com.
On any given night, the church was housing more than 50 people.
“The church pews, the stage, the floor, anywhere we could put a body we would,” said Thomas Sterling, an employee at Apostolic Pentecostal.
The shutdown did not come as a shock to Frederick.
“I could tell by the conversations over the winter that they really did not like us doing what we were doing, but they let us stay open because it was so cold out,” Frederick said.
Closing the shelter has been difficult for everyone in the community.
“Now we get to kick them out, it is still cold outside at night, the temperatures are in the twenties,” said Sterling. "It is not sleeping weather, it is not comfortable, people are not eating, they are not sleeping, they are roaming the streets again."
Frederick is working with the city in order to reopen the church to the homeless.
“The people that came to the center have feelings just like everyone else, and they need their necessities. food, water, shelter, and love,” said Sterling. "They were able to get it all here, and now they can’t."