Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 15, 2014

MEETING: Ferry Avenue shelter advocates speak out.

Niagara Gazette — Community members supporting a Christian mission on Ferry Avenue filled council chambers Monday at City Hall, with many of them voicing their disappointment with the city's recent decision to shut down one aspect of the operation.

Leaders from the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission were joined Monday by a large group of supporters — including people who said they have turned their lives around with the help from the mission and its programs. The group pleaded with city lawmakers to reverse a code enforcement department decision barring the Ferry Avenue building from housing homeless men overnight, a key component to the mission's overall operation.

Shaun Smith, the mission's executive director, told lawmakers the city's decision will put more homeless people out on the street where they will be more likely to get off track, as many of the men who use the shelter's beds are struggling with addiction.

"Our goal is to turn lives around so that these people who come from the streets can become productive citizens that actually contribute to society," Smith said.

The mission, which opened in 2010, had been operating an overnight program for homeless men from day one. It was forced to stop last week after receiving a letter from code enforcement officials saying the residential neighborhood where the home sits is not zoned for "transient" use.

The mission has continued to offer free meals to needy city residents and programming for people struggling with addiction.

Dennis Virtuoso, acting director of the code enforcement department, said the mission has the opportunity to apply to the city's zoning board of appeals for a use variance.

"They do have the right to appeal our decision," he said.

Virtuoso stressed that the mission was very well-run and that the issue with the operation is only related to city zoning codes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results