St. Francis House Breaking the Law for Humanity
Since 1980, when St. Francis opened, workers say their mission has always been to serve the homeless and hungry community, but others say St. Francis is not only breaking the law and for many other reasons, the city should take a hard look at them.
"There's a difference between making profit and saving lives here," St. Francis House Executive Director Kent Vann said.
Vann is very passionate about his mission, even if it means breaking the law.
"So for me to serve beyond 130 people. That's part of what we do for our fellow human, this is humanity," said Vann.
St. Francis House permits lets them house 35 people per night and serve 130 meals per day.
Like Carrie from Ocala, who has lived in Gainesville for the last four years.
Carrie says with no money and a down economy, she was evicted and now homeless with three children.
"I wasn't able to pay my bills and take care of my kids at the same time, so I got evicted and was moving from place to place," Carrie said.
She turned to the St. Francis House for help and said she's not sure where she would be without them.
"I would end up getting my kids taken away and be on the street," Carrie said.
But others say St. Francis House is breaking the law by serving meals over the permitted number.
The building also sits across the street from Lynch Park, which some say has turned into a place of prostitution and drug activity.
Ken Mcgurn, of Mcgurn Investment and Downtown Redevelopment said he is only opposing the permit for food distribution.
"We are challenging the homeless coalition to do something about it, they should be in there changing the operation, they should demand accountability from the St. Francis House," McGurn said.
Many are expected to turn out at city hall for the meeting tonight.
There will be representatives from different sides on the issue and that will be taken in by the planning board and will have to render a decision in tonight's city hall meeting. City Planner Erik Bredfeldt, said the board will hear from all sides and see how the conversation plays out.
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