UPDATE: Pastor Delivers Petitions to City Hall in Fight to Help Homeless

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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local church isn't staying quiet after the city says it can no longer act as a shelter for homeless people.

Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford delivered a petition signed by more than 25 thousand people to city hall Monday.

The petition is calling on the city to help the church become a shelter instead of shutting it down.

The city says they are willing to work with church leaders but that the city has to follow zoning ordinances.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A local church is getting national attention just days after city administrators shut down the building’s warming center due to zoning violations.

“I received calls from New York, Chicago and San Francisco yesterday saying whatever you decide to do we want to help you.”

Pastor David Fredrick says he’s overwhelmed with the support he’s receiving from churches across the country. That’s why he’s determined to re-open the warming center at the Apostolic Pentecostal of Rockford Church.

“We’d like to have it open year round, because people have to sleep somewhere.”

Dozens of homeless people were displaced after city administrators shut down the church’s shelter last week, citing zoning violations.

“If they were to pursue this on a permanent basis, they would need to apply for a special use permit to be considered by our city council to establish the homeless shelter,” said Todd Cagnoni with the City of Rockford.

Cagnoni says he’s been working with Pastor Frederick so church leaders can decide if they will make physical changes to the building to allow for a sleeping area. Pastor Frederick says another option could be to open a new building.

“We’re really at a loss as to what to do, we don’t really have the funds to do what they want us to do and don’t want to not do what we’re doing where we’re at.”

Frederick says some of the out of state churches have already offered to pitch in money, giving him hope to help others.

Some homeless people were sent to the Rockford Rescue Mission. As far as a special use permit, City Administrators say it could take more than a month for church leaders to be approved.

That process would require a public community hearing since the church is in a residential area.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Leaders at a Rockford church say they have been told by the city that they can no longer act as a warming center and temporary homeless shelter because of zoning issues and apparent safety hazards.

Apostolic Pentecostals of Rockford church tells 23 New they were told Wednesday by the city that their facility doesn't have adequate fire safety equipment and also isn't zoned to serve the community as a warming center or shelter.

You got people out in the cold," says church owner David Frederick, "and I think the city should allow us to stay open all night."

Frederick says he has been warned by the city if his church takes people in he would be doing so illegally.

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