City of Dallas threatens to fine OURCALLING homeless ministry due to ordinance buffer zone

City of Dallas threatens to fine OURCALLING homeless ministry due to ordinance buffer zone

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Brooke Cushing started this petition to city of dallas tx and

In these uncertain times, we all are searching for bits of hope, comfort and reassurance. The homeless community is no exception. The average American has specific needs to fulfill thier lifestyles & thier financial obligations. To a homeless person, a warm blanket, a warm meal and a temporary shelter out of the weather will do just fine.

The problem starts when certain city regulations/ordinances hinder the efforts to help the less fortunate in times of need. Most city ordinances are created to maintain cleanliness, control, peace, safety and overall positive wellbeing for the residents with that zone....But unfortunately The City of Dallas has a specific ordinance that prevent certain organizations like, "OurCalling" - a faith based non-profit homeless organization within 1/2 mile of downtown, from helping these homeless communities find shelter when desperately needed because of a buffer zone.

So instead of housing these homeless people that are cold, hungry and searching for a place to rest thier head during rough times, they'd rather see them freezing to death in paper thin tents and makeshift huts under bridges & side streets huddling up to find a bit of hope and safety.

We've created a petition in efforts to change the ordinance to allow these faith based organizations like, "OurCalling," to temporarily open for the homeless community only in severe inclement weather, when the temperatures drop below freezing, tornados, and sleet or snow. To allow a cushion to the ordinance. To turn away the homeless when the resources are available to help because of a buffer zone is just inhumane and ungodly when there is no harm to the city nor the residents within that zone to do so.

 

                                           WFAA News Channel 8 Reports:
     Dallas-based "OurCalling" could face fines for opening temporary overnight shelter as temperatures drop.
     On Wednesday night, OurCalling is opening its doors as an emergency inclement weather shelter for people who are homeless — an action that could land the Dallas nonprofit a fine.
     "We feel we have the moral obligation to keep our doors open," said Pastor Wayne Walker.
OurCalling is a ministry that serves the unsheltered homeless population, around 10,000 people each year.
      In November, the Dallas City Council approved an ordinance that allows faith-based organizations and churches to seek permits as temporary inclement weather shelters when temperatures fall below 36 degrees between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. Other inclement weather conditions apply as well.
      However, the code sets a buffer zone that excludes organizations within a half-mile from the central business district of Downtown Dallas. OurCalling is part of that zone. Walker said he was told the organization could face up to a $2,000 fine if people are allowed to stay inside. He said OurCalling already opened its doors Sunday evening to provide overnight shelter, warm showers and meals for men and women facing the cold. Around 60 people stayed overnight. Another 30 arrived on Monday.
     City officials told WFAA there have been no calls for enforcement complaining about violations. It also confirms 270 hotel rooms are being paid for by the City and nonprofits to help house people Wednesday night. Walker said the 270 rooms are great, but it's not enough.
     As Wednesday night gets colder, OurCalling is planning to open again, and Walker is expecting even more people. He said his team will work to keep people safe from COVID-19 with social distancing and other protocols.
"With COVID, the homeless population is growing, and so we are seeing about 20% growth month after month," Walker said. "We're going to keep our doors open to make sure people can survive."
     City officials say they share his concerns as leaders work to find long-term solutions to help people experiencing homelessness.

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