Church Goes to Court for Feeding the Homeless

Jerod Clark

A church in an upscale Phoenix neighborhood will be going to federal court because of a program they have that feeds homeless people every Saturday morning.  According to the USA Today, the city of Phoenix told CrossRoads United Methodist Church to stop the breakfast because it violates zoning laws.  Neighbors complain that the homeless people "create blight and pose a danger to them."  The church says they're exempt because of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act which protects church from zoning laws.

Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank says, "This is what it means to be a church.  We're just trying to take care of some people who are hungry and trying to reach out to our neighborhood."

The city says it's glad the church is helping out, but wants them to be in an appropriately zoned area.

So what do you think?  Is the church in the right?  Should they move the breakfast outreach elsewhere?  Do they need to be good neighbors and respect the wishes of people around them?  Or is this another case of residents over-reacting?

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