Pastor of Gastonia who is using the church as a shelter should stop

According to the City of Gastonia, the Gastonia Fire Department and fire inspectors have responded to multiple calls to the property.

GASTONIA, NC — Some Gastonia’s homeless may have to look for a new apartment.

“We received a letter from the city saying we have to close the shelter,” said Pastor Moses Colbert.

Pastor Colbert used his church faith hope and loveas a place of refuge to help people on the street.

“I’m no better than anyone else, I could have been, so I try to help everyone I can. You know, we served probably 20,000 people, we served over a million meals,” Colbert said.

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For years, Colbert has been hosting and feeding the homeless from time to time. He said this isn’t the first time the city has asked him to find a better alternative.

“I would much rather ask her forgiveness than her permission because I don’t get her permission,” Colbert said.

According to the City of Gastonia, the Gastonia fire department and fire inspectors have responded to multiple calls to the property at address 602 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way reacts. City officials have met with Pastor Moses Colbert on several occasions to tell him that the church was built as a church and is to be used for that purpose only, which does not include overnight accommodation.

The city said that due to zoning regulations, shelters are not legally allowed in the city. Additionally, Section 319 of the 2018 North Carolina Fire Code specifically mentions the requirements for operating a shelter for homeless citizens. The city said Pastor Moses has been notified multiple times to immediately cease operations at the church pending planning permission, compliance with the NC fire order, or a request for a change of use.

Still, Colbert said he was disappointed to see the community pushback.

“I see the need in this community for what we’re doing if we could just get a few people on board,” Colbert said.

Until then, the likes of Marcus Witherspoon will be grateful to call Faith Hope and Love home.

“This has been like my family for the last three to four months,” Witherspoon said. “You remember stuff like that, you appreciate what you’re up to a lot more, you know what I’m saying, that was a wonderful experience.”

The town of Gastonia also said they are aware of the issues related to homelessness.

“The City of Gastonia is aware of the issues surrounding homelessness,” a city spokesman said in part in a statement to WCNC Charlotte. “We are working diligently with our faith communities, nonprofits, community partners and other communities to find solutions. We recently announced an emergency rental assistance program for residents who need assistance during emergencies. There are also other resources homeless citizens can take advantage of when they need assistance, such as the Emergency Utility Assistance program for Gastonia residents.”

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