The House of Mercy homeless shelter in Columbus, Georgia, is slated to receive a $75,000 earmark from the Georgia Special Housing Initiatives office, for work in 2011. However, the House of Mercy shelter, run by Elder Bobby Harris, refuses to serve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender homeless people. Pastor Harris has even gone on camera with a local television station, saying the following:
"[Homosexuality] is not tolerated here at all. Let me tell you one reason why: because of the Bible, of course. And then we have little children that we won't have tolerate that kind of act here."
The local television station, WRBL, reached out to other homeless shelters in the Columbus community, and found that none of them refuse service to people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. One homelessness activist even told the station that refusing shelter to people in need would be akin to "revictimizing the victim."
Shame on the House of Mercy for denying people in need help, unless they pass a litmus test. And shame on the state of Georgia for using $75,000 in taxpayer money to fund shelters that discriminate, when other shelters around that truly serve all in need could benefit from such spending. Tell the Georgia Special Housing Initiatives Office to spend this $75,000 elsewhere, at shelters in Columbus that won't turn away gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents in need.