Churches skirt shelter regulations,
"It wouldn't be the first time people fell asleep in church," Pastor Mark Thompson said.
offer all-night prayer service for homeless
Thompson and his congregation at St. Mark Lutheran Church mobilized over the weekend after learning that the City of Cudahy, Wisconsin, had rejected another church's proposal to host a temporary shelter.
The congregations and others who work with the homeless say organizations can open their facilities as warming rooms when the temperatures reach life-threatening levels, regardless of whether they qualify as shelters. No one, however, could cite an official ordinance or statute.
"It's a way to skirt the law," said Ken Schmidt of Hope House.
Assistant Milwaukee City Attorney Jay Unora said he knew of no such provision but doubted officials would shut down any place offering sanctuary in this cold unless the facilities were unsafe.
"We're about keeping people alive," he said. "I know of inspectors so heartless they'd turn their mother in. But I don't know of anybody, in these temperatures, who would tell a facility or church to turn people away."
Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report here.