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Area Pastors Trying To Save Roosevelt Mission
Updated May 5, 2013 1:04 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(LINTON) - The city of Linton has taken no official stance on the Roosevelt Mission's future, despite the de-funding of the homeless shelter and transitional housing facility by state and federal agencies.

The city hasn't attempted to close the shelter, though the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority suggested it should be shut down. IHDCA deemed Roosevelt Mission unsafe in late May, urging residents to find emergency housing elsewhere.

The state fire marshal is also currently investigating and the IHDCA and inspector say the facility does not meet building codes.

Area pastors are now trying to come up with a plan to keep the shelter open because after 25 years of serving the area's needy, it is in danger of closing after state and federal funds were cut because of the inspections.

The mission is now counting on donations from local churches and those the mission may have helped in the past to cover costs.

The Rev. Jerry French, the mission's director, blames the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies' decisions to cut about $27,000 annually.

In November 2010, French received an email from Kelli Barker of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Association (IHCDA) informing him funds existed to repair missions and upgrade their utilities. He expected IHCDA might spend as much as $750,000 to fix up the mission. Instead, the agency sent inspectors who found the mission had gas leaks and electrical work that did not adhere to building codes. There were also problems with insect infestations, leaks, and raw sewage in the basement, listed in their report.

French said the problems are misrepresented and overstated. However, the 110-year-old facility's safety has come into question, leading local clergy to step up efforts to determine how they can help.They have not come up with any concrete ideas, just discussions.

French said no suitable facility exists in the community which could replace the Roosevelt Mission, especially given how the facility earns 60 percent of its funding from rental on the former hotel's 11 apartments.

Still, some pastors believe assistance to low-income residents could be spread across properties owned by multiple churches, meaning multiple rental properties would replace the mission.

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