City of Rockford helps homeless after church shelter closes - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

City of Rockford helps homeless after church shelter closes

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

The City of Rockford is trying to help homeless individuals who relied on a local church for a place to sleep after it ceased operating as a shelter.

Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford has been voluntarily opening its doors to the homeless on cold nights for several years. We first reported on their efforts in 2012 and again last December. On cold nights, church members would pick up local homeless individuals and bring them to the church, offer them dinner, and a pew to sleep on to stay out of the harsh winter weather.

However, the church had to stop offering help in that way after an emergency medical call at the address in late January brought the issue to the City of Rockford's attention. City officials say the church often housed 50 people a night, but without screening the guests and without a proper emergency plan in case of a fire.

The City says it worked with church officials to take the proper steps to establish a shelter, but after six weeks of discussion, the church had still not taken those steps and the City requested it stop providing shelter care until they conform to city ordinances.

In the meantime, the Human Services Department, the Rockford/Boone/Winnebago Continuum of Care and various agencies are working with the homeless who stayed at Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford to arrange for needed services and housing options. Many of those individuals are now housed at the Rockford Rescue Mission.

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