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Bunnell Rudely Tells Church’s Cold-Weather Shelter for Homeless to Get Out Of Town

| June 4, 2019

The Sheltering Tree's cold weather shelter has operated for 11 years at Bunnell's United Methodist Church on Pine Street, opening on nights when the temperature falls below 40 degrees. (c FlaglerLive)

The Sheltering Tree’s cold weather shelter has operated for 11 years at Bunnell’s United Methodist Church on Pine Street, opening on nights when the temperature falls below 40 degrees. (c FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County Commission, the Palm Coast City Council, the school district, the sheriff’s office, the countywide affordable housing and homelessness task force and the countywide Public Safety Coordinating Council and a half dozen churches in Flagler Beach, Palm Coast and Bunnell are all in one way or another either directly helping or looking for ways to help the county’s homeless.

Bunnell city government since City Manager Alvin Jackson’s arrival late last year has been doing the opposite. Last fall the city council adopted the county’s only anti-panhandling ordinance, a harsh measure tailored after St. Augustine’s and Daytona Beach’s that, in essence, gives police implicit authority to harass and chase out panhandlers from any commercial or school zone any time of day or night.

Last week, the city’s zoning board, operating with a bare quorum of three of its five members –Jerry Jones, Howard Kane and Carl Lilavois–voted to end Bunnell’s First United Methodist Church’s hosting of the cold-weather shelter for the homeless, an operation run by the non-profit Sheltering Tree for the past 11 years. (The Sheltering Tree is also known as the Family Assistance Center.) The vote followed an abrasive presentation about its operation by Rodney Lucas, the city’s new community and economic development director, who on several occasions, and out of keeping with protocol at such hearings, aggressively questioned shelter volunteers who were merely addressing the board.

“Shocker. Shocker. Why?” said Sarah Ulis, a member of the board of the Sheltering Tree. “Is this some kind of a movement against the homeless? And why?” She described the zoning board meeting as a “lynching.”

The Sheltering Tree board held an emergency meeting Monday. It intends to appeal the decision to the city commission.

The church’s May 7 application for a special exception to the zoning code sought to accomplish several things unrelated to the shelter, including upgrading restrooms to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, supply shower and laundry facilities for hurricane relief teams dispatched to the area after natural disasters, upgrade facilities for those who use the church’s Fellowship Hall for church events, special events, the church’s Care Cupboard food pantry–an integral part of the church’s ministry for the poor for the past 15 years–and its Soul Cafe weekly dinner for the poor, operating for 19 years. The application also sought additional storage space. The food pantry fed 18,000 families last year. The Soul Cafe provides 50 to 60 meals weekly, all accomplished with volunteers and donations from local restaurants. Six teams stayed at the church while providing relief for two recent hurricanes, including Irma.

A shelter that twice survived attempts to shut it in 11 years is battling again.

The shower and laundry facilities would have also been available for disaster-relief teams and for those who use the cold-weather shelter on those rare nights each year when the overnight temperature falls below 40 degrees. The Sheltering Tree’s 150 trained volunteers work in teams, including some government officials (but not Bunnell’s) turn the Fellowship Hall into an overnight shelter for the homeless. It did so 19 times last year, with individuals served from 5:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following day. The shelter hosted an average of 15 individuals on those nights.

The shelter partners with the sheriff’s Stride program-designed to help jail inmates reintegrate the community successfully–the Flagler County Free Clinic, the Salvation Army, AdventHealth Palm Coast and numerous other local agencies. It has operated successfully for most of its existence, though in 2010-11 it fought hard to stay on after facing a bout of resistance from some members of the community. When it’s in operation, every government agency of note, including Emergency Services, law enforcement, local media and many others are notified. It’s never been a secret. It’s never been disallowed. “So I don’t know what’s changed,” Sue Bickings, who chairs the Sheltering Tree Board, said.

The zoning board took two votes on the matter. The first vote approved some code-compliant construction, including two showers, but only for use by disaster-relief teams, and only by a teams made up of a maximum of six people: that is, the maximum number of people permitted in a residential zone home, since the church zoned residential.

“R-1 allows only six people to stay overnight,” Lucas told the zoning board members. He did not clarify that the special exception the church was asking for would exempt it from that limit of six people, even though the board could easily have approved that exception.

The board in effect did not approve the submitted application for an exception to the zoning code, but its own edict that the church may build a maximum of two showers and be in compliance with all codes before operating as a location for a disaster-relief team. The limit of six people would make it difficult for the church to be such a location. The board in large respect thus nullified the purpose of the church’s request.

It then turned to the request for an exception (or exemption) enabling the use of Fellowship Hall as a cold-weather shelter. That was rejected outright.

The church is in a residential neighborhood. But the church, a block away from U.S. 1 on one side and Moody Boulevard on the other, is within a block of the Bank of America, Terranova, the restaurant, and a flooring shop, among many other businesses. The area, Lucas said, “is intended to encourage healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.”

Rodney Lucas. (c FlaglerLive)

Rodney Lucas. (c FlaglerLive)

Bickings later told the board of the church’s long history, when “it was not built as a house: people don’t live there. It’s a church, and churches in America, some of them, try to help people. Because that’s what Jesus would like us to do. So this church for 11 years, for 11 years, has run a cold-weather shelter pretty well.”

“The city has no problem with it doing its food and clothing pantries, these are normal church activities,” Lucas said. He said it’s not compatible with the zoning. He said the city received “many calls” but just one letter of opposition. He cited, without evidence, a concern about the church “housing sex offenders.” He said the fire inspector failed the church “several times” over its fire protection system, which is antiquated in certain rooms.

First United Methodist Church Rev. Terry Wines stressed the “temporary” nature of the facilities for which the exception was sought. He conceded that the church had some work to do to be in compliance, and is working with Alarmpro to fix its systems, finances permitting. “When we were informed that we were in violation, we ceased,” he said.

The zoning board could easily ratify by special exemption what the city had ratified by practice for 11 years.

It did not do so.

It was clear from the start of the discussion that the city intended to shut down the shelter by any pretext necessary. “We went back in the records and there was never city commission approval to use this property as such,” Lucas said. Lucas’s claim is curious since the city itself organized a community meeting in February 2011 to hear concerns about the cold-weather shelter and attempt to reach a consensus on its continued operation–which it did, with the city administration’s blessing. “It’s too important an issue for us to let emotions get in the way,” then-City Manager Armando Martinez said at the time. Two years later the city hosted a forum on the issue, when Martinez described it as “Bunnell taking a lead role in an issue that affects the entire county.” There never was an attempt by the commission to raise any issues of legalities or irregularities by the shelter, though the city had ample opportunities to do so.

“We were also under the understanding that there had been a special exemption, but it had been given under the name of the previous pastor,” Wines said at Friday’s meeting. Beth Gardner, the previous pastor, had successfully weathered attempts to shut down the shelter, and did so with the city’s help–without a special exception–before she was transferred to a church in Lakeland. Still, Wines said he was aiming to do what was necessary to attain whatever was necessary under his name and the church board’s name to ensure compliance.

Lucas, who spoke with an accusatory, at times boorish tone unusual for administrators–and sharply at variance with the way the City Council handles its meetings and the public before it–at one point grilled Wines as if Lucas were a prosecutor and Wines a defendant. The questioning was gratuitous: Wines was before the board precisely to secure the special exception necessary–not to claim that he had one already. Still, Lucas questioned: “Do you have anything in writing that says the city has you as approved zoning to date operating as a temporary overnight residential use facility?”

“To the best of my knowledge, no,” Wines said. “And that is why we’re here tonight.”

Lucas pressed on, as if he had not heard Wines, but by then it was clear that Lucas was putting on a show, battering Wines for effect to prime an audience ready to lob its own stones and ease the zoning board’s way to a No vote: “Do you understand that R-1 zoning doesn’t allow this type of use?”

“I understand, yes,” Wines said. (Lucas not once questioned individuals who spoke against the shelter. Lucas was Jackson’s first major hire. Jackson had beaten him out for city manager.)

Lilavois, sitting in for Thea Mathen as the zoning board’s chairman–Mathen was at an international Rotary conference (“wish I had been able to attend,” she said in a text)–then opened the floor to public comment.

Mike Kuypers was among the volunteers who helped during two hurricanes. He was among the rare few who spoke in support of the church’s mission. He described to the board the “unobtrusive” work the hurricane volunteers perform for a week or so, urging approval of the exception. “Other churches have relief crews that come and go as well, it’s not unusual for a church to house relief workers through their system to do volunteer work in their community.”

Other volunteers spoke in favor of the application, including the contractor working on the project, a church trustee. “We are the only cold-weather shelter for the county of Flagler, these people have nowhere else to go,” Charles Bergen, the contractor who submitted the application to the city and designed the planned construction, said. He stressed that lawbreakers such as sex offenders–the specter almost reflexively brandished by opponents of the shelter to buttress their case–are trespassed from the property. “I don’t see how the city of Bunnell can deny me a permit to build ADA-compliant facilities for our bathrooms, OK?” The ADA is the Americans With Disabilities Act.

But many others were opposed to the Sheltering Tree’s work.

Lynne Lafferty, a long-time resident and owner of a Montessori school near the Methodist church, among other properties she owns, said she’s had ample opportunity to observe who uses the church, and claimed transients there have included a “convicted murderer” and three child sex offenders who use the church as their address, “a man who assaulted five children at a nearby park,” drug dealers and prostitutes, and loitering that results in feces and trash on her property and fear among neighbors to sit on their own porches. “There’s one neighbor, she’s scared to feed her cat. She’ll come out later,” Lafferty said.

Opponents of the shelter cite a slew of scabrous behaviors, though little of it is documented.

So it went, with speaker after speaker describing drinkers, loiterers-one woman spoke contemptuously of the homeless doing all this “while they sit and play on their iphone”–and other similar issues, often saying they had nothing against volunteer emergency workers. “But as far as the homeless, we’re done with them. We’ve had enough of them. It’s ridiculous.” A man who walks his dog “religiously” by the church seven days a week said the church “is not a KOA campground,” and said “it’s not about homelessness. It’s about drug addiction,” “prostitution” and screamers of obscenities. His wife, he said, is scared of walking the dog (a pit bull) by the church.

Later, Roberta Nelson, a seven-year resident of East Lambert Street, described the homeless as “shiftless” liars with cell phones who do drugs and have sex and “do it on the street in front of kids,” and spoke of worse. “I had one woman zipping up her pants and she’s going, ‘Can you believe he only offered me 10 bucks for a blow job?’ I’m like, what’s the matter, you’re upset at the blow job or you’re upset about the price?” It’s not clear why a woman soliciting or recovering from oral sex would be zipping up her pants, suggesting the story was likelier apocryphal than not.

Joe Mullins, the county commissioner and chairman of the Public Safety Coordinating Council who owns a homesteaded property down the street from the church and who’s sought a lead role in addressing homeless issues countywide–he chairs the public safety coordinating council–also addressed the zoning panel. “As far as the cold-weather shelter, I don’t think there’s an individual in this room that doesn’t want to help these individuals or provide a service during desperate times,” Mullins said. (He was speaking immediately after the woman who said “we’ve had enough of them”).

“I think the fear here is that being kept in that range,” Mullins continued. “And there’s a lot of commotion right now as you guys know and as I know through the county with the homeless situation. This isn’t an easy problem that we’re going to be able to solve. We’re working it as a–and I’m going to speak on it as a commissioner as well: we’re working on it on a county level to get a procedure in place. On of the big problems we have in this county is there’s no procedure to address this situation. So we’ve been direly working on it at the Public Safety Coordinating Council, the new manager is working on it, we visited with the Salvation Army to get a solution. I don’t want to see us relocate these individuals from one area of the county to the other. The solution to this is to get this procedure in place and to address this like most counties are doing across the country.”

(In fact, there has been no discussion at the County Commission to develop the sort of policies Mullins is discussing, and the public safety council has shown interest in addressing the situation, but has resisted actual ordinances that would look to law enforcement as a homeless police in any way. And most counties and local governments are hesitant to adopt homeless-restricting regulations for fear of litigation.) Mullins said what the county as a whole is doing now is not working, but, addressing Bunnell’s issue, he said “we don’t need to be reacting” but finding a broader solution.

Since the church’s requests before the board were split in two, the hearing turned into a double-barreled onslaught against the church, with two public-comment periods, each echoing the other. After the vote allowing for the use of the facility by a small disaster-relief team, the board asked for comment on the shelter issue alone, with Lucas reiterating much of what he’d said before, with a bit of extra history and the odd exaggeration: he claimed at one point that there was inadequate parking for the church, though it’s never been an issue for a congregation that can draw upwards of 100 people for services, while the homeless tend not to have vehicles of their own. Lucas’s reference to parking, however, was in keeping with his all-but-kitchen-sink attack on the shelter.

Lucas offered what he called a “three-month grace period” to the shelter, giving it time to move elsewhere–a serrated olive branch given that the average night temperatures over the next three months will be in the 70s, and the shelter is not expected to operate until after well after Thanksgiving.

Bickings, the Sheltering Tree Board chair, spoke during that second segment.

“Homelessness in this country, it’s everywhere,” Bickings said. “You’ve watched what Palm Coast did, what the library did, what the county’s done. Nobody wants to touch homelessness. They can’t fix it, because people are homeless, they either choose it or they end up that way through terrible circumstances. So homelessness exists an people live in communities. The Bunnell homeless people don’t live in Palm Coast and the Palm Coast homeless people don’t live in Bunnell. They live in the place where they are. They’re not going to go away. If the cold-weather shelter goes away, homeless people will still walk down the street in Bunnell. They’ll be in the woods.” She spoke of the various successes, naming names, of homeless people who have successfully made their way out of homelessness or getting help in other ways, “an no one is living on the property of the church.” She said “it’s better than we’ve ever been,” compared to previous issues. She spoke of the 150 volunteers who work for the shelter. She spoke of the church and its intentions. She spoke wryly of the zoning designation, as if it were the only defining commandment at work.

Lucas grilled Bickings, too, asking her if she had a business tax receipt to “do business at that location.”

“We don’t do business,” she replied, a touch of disbelief in her voice, “we’re a cold-weather shelter. That’s not business–”

Lucas persisted, cutting her off, his tone that of a cop asking for a driver’s papers: “Do you operate from 205 North Pine Street?”

“Yes,” Bickings said after a pause, her emphasis on the “s” speaking her displeasure with Lucas’s manner. He did not stop, lecturing her about the organization’s non-profit status.

But the vote was a foregone conclusion.

42 Responses for “Bunnell Rudely Tells Church’s Cold-Weather Shelter for Homeless to Get Out Of Town”

  1. ASF says:

    So much for the holy roller good Christian people of Bunnell.

  2. Tay says:

    This quote cracks me up “If the cold-weather shelter goes away, homeless people will still walk down the street in Bunnell They’ll be in the woods.” Where do you think they are the other 345 days a year the shelter is closed?? Just the other day they pulled a passed out lady from behind the circle k all doped up its ridiculous. Stop catering to these people… I cant even get the country bus to pick me up after surgery to go to rehab but we can offer them bus transportation 2x a day… makes me sick

  3. Derrick Redder says:

    Good, The county should do the same.
    These createns are homeless by choice and we’re never a residents , they are Transits illegally tresspassing and squaring until they are forced to move on. Leaving thier crap and garbage upon the land at the Taxpaying property owners expense. And before any of you break out the crying towel and throw a pity party fit. Open you doors hearts and wallets and take them in on your dime.

  4. Dave says:

    Bunnell leaders you make us sick and Jesus would shake his head in disbelief at the thoughtlessness and dehumanization you spew thre your council and communities. Shame on anyone fighting the poor and homeless and warm place to sleep. I think palm coast churches should follow the lead and open up shelters in all flagler cities!

  5. Katie Semore says:


  6. Mrs Rob says:

    Thank you Pierre for this well written article. It captured the entire meeting.

  7. Dave says:

    If you fear the homeless then you don not belong in the city. People who are afraid of homeless people belong in secluded country areas not the city.

  8. Boyd Venable says:

    Comparing a zoning vote to a lynching is over the top. Some people have ancestors that have actually been lynched.

  9. richiesanto says:

    I have been a volunteer at the Sheltering Tree for over a year. This non-profit does nothing but God’s work in helping the homeless and near-homeless in Flagler county. Unfortunately, God has been given notice by the city of bunnell to “get the hell outta my town!” It seems as if bunnell has decided that the homeless don’t need any shelter when the temp gets into the 20’s. The city seems to believe that the Sheltering Tree is causing homelessness and if they just ban it, then homelessness will be solved (or is it cured?).

  10. Michael Cocchiola says:

    This is shameful. If the Bunnell city commission lets this stand, then shame on Bunnell. This is a continuation of attempts across this state to demonize the homeless and to bully and denigrate the people and organizations who try to help. Today, humanity is diminished.

  11. Will says:

    Thumbs up to the City of Bunnell! If there is not strict standards and rules in place Florida will become the next “west coast” with rampant homeless camps on every street.

  12. Stretchem says:

    Lucas sounds like a real fine southern small town neighborly fella ya just wanna sit on a country porch and chew the fat with and admire the wholesome goodness of the world around us.

  13. Will says:

    Thumbs up to the City of Bunnell! Rules and regulations need to be kept up and remain in place. We don’t need Flagler or Florida to become the next West Coast, with encampments everywhere!

  14. Disgusted. says:

    What a disgusting bunch of people. “On their iPhones condemning the homeless” is by far the greatest description I’ve ever heard for this disgusting and disgraceful group of people who claim to be religious and still spit on those less fortunate in this county. Shame on each and every last one of them, and especially Mr. Lucas and his holier than thou attitude. I’d love to see the circumstances reversed, and him be the one on the street looking for a place to stay on a 40 degree night.

  15. Choose Wisely says:

    Glad one more incentive for the homeless to stay in Flagler is gone. No more Tent City by the Library.
    If I wanted to live in an area pandering to these Bums, I would have moved to California.
    I worked for my situation, and have no desire to provide support in any way to people who choose this “lifestyle”.

  16. John kent says:

    Thank you Bunnell. Good to know that at least there is one government body in this County that has brain.

  17. Martin Collins says:

    It is so sad that a critical need for the poorest and most vulnerable in our area is taken away after 11 years.
    As a board member I was so pleased to be part of an all volunteer group who worked in the shelter on cold nights
    Our guests included a grandmother and her grand daughter who were sleeping in her car after fleeing her violent husband.Our guests included young people from dysfunctional homes.
    We also helped families in a financial crisis who could not pay their rent and were temporarily struggling to survive.
    Too often we stereotype homeless people with alcohol and drug problems.
    In all the nights I have served in the shelter I never saw any trouble.
    Most nights I met guests who were cold and very grateful for shelter when they felt most vulnerable and hopeless.
    This service for our poorest fellow human beings was provided at no cost to the community.
    It was done by volunteers using generous donations.
    I would feel very compromised if I played any part in taking this service away from people who have no voice,who feel rejected and who feel nobody cares………………it’s a sad reflection on all of us when we turn our back on poverty.

  18. Edith Campins says:

    Shame on Bunnell and its politicians. I will mke sure not to spend a dime within the Bunnell city limits.

  19. Amanda says:

    Unfortunately this issue drove a lot of families away from the church. I grew up in this church and was saddened that my children, who were the 6th generation in my family to go to this church were not raised in this church as I was. I was uncomfortable when I would go to church and I’d see homeless people sleeping on the steps and under the breeze ways with alcohol bottles all over. I no longer felt like sending my children to the bathroom by themselves was a good idea. It broke my heart to turn away from the church where I was baptized, where I got married, where all three of my children were christened.
    It’s not about helping others in need but when those in need refuse to help themselves and their actions become a problem for the residential community surrounding them, somebody has to do something. I’m all about helping those in need but they need to help themselves too and not just ask for handout after handout. The church became a crutch for them and the city is right to not want this to be another sore spot within them.

  20. Digusted says:

    What is it with people in this County when it comes to homelessness? I hope to God they are never in this situation. You never know what hand life will deal you. I hate seeing the homeless begging for money on corners anywhere. I always feel anxiety when I see them..However, it is everyone’s duty to lend a helping hand to those not as fortunate. I don’t claim to know the answer, but I do know right from wrong. This is just wrong. You guys have until it starts getting cold to figure out the solution. It’s the right thing to do. Please relocate them. Maybe the Baptist Church by Wendy’s. It’s not in a residential area.

  21. PF says:

    If the city shuts down a safe haven from the cold the crime rate would rise. People are going to find heat when needed one way or another. Living in Detroit for 10 years I have seen this happen. Unless we are creating well paying jobs for the homeless so they can afford a roof over their head, instead of shutting down during cold we should be providing year round. Not saying for free but making them work for a place to stay a cooked meal, etc. Be part of the solution instead of creating a bigger problem.

  22. Willy Boy says:

    Once there were hobos, vagrants, bums, street-people, vagabonds, drifters, bag-ladies, bindlestiffs, and beggars. They’ve been scamming the do-gooders since forever. “Alms for the poor.”

  23. Doug says:

    Good for Bunnell. Flagler County should learn from them. Flagler is beginning to look like a big metropolitan city with all the crap found within.

  24. richiesanto says:

    I sincerely hope for all these folks applauding this dreadful decision that hard times or bad luck doesn’t befall you. Because God has love for ALL of us- even those that would like to see these unfortunate souls just die. So I will pray for all these sorry, angry people and hope that karma isn’t waiting outside your door.

  25. Yellowstone says:

    “I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not ill-treat or oppress foreigners, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place. (Jeremiah 22:3)”

    “Rich people who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God. (1 John 3:17)”

  26. Disappointed says:

    I am disappointed by what I’ve read in this article and the comments some of my Flagler County residents have posted here. How, as human beings, would we not want to help those less fortunate than ourselves? The comments expressed here are the example of how/why we are failing as a society and a nation; when we fail to accept the value of other human beings and fail to seek compassionate, empathetic ways to help these people. I am afraid as our nation’s population ages, and prices for housing and medical costs increase exponentially, we will see more homelessness in this country, not less. We should find proactive solutions to help the homeless, not seek additional ways to punish and shun them.

  27. I Can See It says:

    Like feeding feral cats. Just stop already.

  28. Michael Cocchiola says:

    So, Tay… helping the homeless, the ill, the helpless, makes you sick? Well, soon enough there won’t be anyone to help you, either. It works that way, you know.

  29. Michael Cocchiola says:

    “Creatures” Derrick, really? They’re not human anymore. They’re not even animals, apparently, since you probably would not advocate closing a Humane Society shelter… or would you?

  30. Andrew Churney says:

    In reply to the comment that people who have fear of homeless are the real villains and don’t deserve to live in a city, this is a very unfair and thoughtful conclusion.
    I am a grown man and have often given assistance to and ministered to the homeless. I am not compassionate to their plight. However, I have also been accosted and treated very rudely by homeless people. At times it was downright scary and threatening. If this has been my experience, I can only imagine how frightening it is for a child or an elderly person to be verbally or physically accosted by a homeless beggar or delusional addict on the street. Some panhandlers are hyper aggressive and very rude. This kind of behavior needs to be policed, period. To characterize all homeless as harmless is just ignorant and foolhardy, as much as the belief that all are psychopaths. One must be careful.

  31. oldtimer says:

    As someone who sees the “homeless” situation on a regular basis I agree to help those who need it, but unfortunately about 80% don’t want it they chose to live like this.If you don’t believe that ask the FCSO deputies who deal with them every day. You can’t help people who refuse help

  32. Ambrosia Catworth says:

    People and Their Appearances…
    Yes some humans (not Cretens), choose to be homeless, but most just need help and if you say you live by the word of Jesus, then you don’t judge people who need help, you help them. Now maybe the people in these posts who are so cruel, just don’t care. Rather than getting angry (city council, towns people, shelter workers) find a solution. It require compassion people. It doesn’t matter why someone is homeless, it only matters how to make them not homeless. There is a lot of land in Flagler County (specifically Bunnell) there has to be a way for the Church to do a Year round shelter. Talk to other towns and states that have successful program’s. Many Churches don’t close their doors, they are 24/7 for Service, always a Pastor, Minister, Priest, Reverend, available inside Church walls. I give if I have to Panhandlers, because I don’t judge them, that’s not my job. What they say they need money for and what they do with the change or couple bucks, is on them. I have needed help in the past and I give back when I can. It’s called Karma and it likes to show up in its own time and give in its own way.

  33. roberta nelson says:

    telling me i was being untruthful by using a big word. Cute!!! I was truthful and accurate You should have told your readers the whole story,accurately and unbiased. You did not.

  34. Dave says:

    There are drug addicts, sex offenders, and murderers living in homes all around you. Some have never been caught and labeled. But they are most definitely all around you. So do they only bother you when they are homeless? If you want to live in the City of Bunnell, The City of Palm Coast, or The City of Flagler Beach, then you must live alongside the homeless, period. If you do not wish to share the streets and resources with the homeless then may I suggest you move to a more secluded area with less resource.

  35. Laura says:

    “It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

    “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.”

    To blame the poor for not caring for themselves is to blatantly ignore the word of the LORD. His Word is to give to the needy without concern for how they may take it, for you will be judged highly when the time comes. Those “pious” among you who reject this duty reveal yourselves for what you are; Christians of aesthetic, refusing to heed the word of the LORD, rather than Christians of soul and mind.

    Unless, of course, you choose to follow these words, and cease your opposition to helping the needy based on your views of them, or how they take it.

  36. Bunnell resident says:

    Tays, please double check your sources on the free 2 trip a day rides by Flagler Transportation.
    That’s not happening at this time.

  37. hector lopez says:

    someone already said it WHEN IT GETS COLD THEY WILL FIND WARMTH SOMEWHERE!!! all you people who refuse to help the homeless better hope they dont find your home a warm haven to break into…wouldnt a church who cares for and helps all GOD’S CHILDREN BE THE WAY TO GO!! bunnell should be ashamed of them selves as should be many who post on this site..

  38. Bunnell Boy says:

    Leave it to a bunch of cry baby SJWs from some northern hell hole to come down here to a small Southern town and demand that WE accept your urban rubbish. We had none of these problems before your heralded arrival, and you are welcome to take them back North with you when you go, and you WILL go…

  39. Ronald Shaffer says:

    I’m sorry… But, DRUGS, PROSTITUTION, BLOWJ**S.. ‘PLUS’ Yelling, screaming, loud base music, OBSCENITIES YELLED 24/7, twirking contest among children… This isn’t the homeless, these are apartment complexes, HUD Housing, Section 8 areas, etc. THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU ARE PAYING FOR opposed to a few volunteers at this church! But God forbid we wave a finger to them! HYPOCRITES. You are barking up the wrong tree my friends, of you want to see disgusting behavior, spend some time at the above mentioned and compare it with this church and remember, YOU are paying for those homes, rentals, subwoofers, the weed, the promiscuity among children, etc. How misplaced your concern is. Clean up public housing and THEN speak to me about a little ol church doing a Godly act. Idiots

  40. Optimist says:

    This has MAGA written all over it. “ I’ve got mine, so go get your own!”
    But on Sunday…….

  41. Shaking My Head says:

    Yes good for Bunnell…..good for us all!

  42. John Le Tellier says:

    I am grateful to see the positive comments above, but disgusted to see all the negative ones. What you people don’t realize is that most homeless did not ask to be homeless. The ones we have helped over the last eleven years at The Sheltering Tree lost their jobs and homes, through many different reasons and not necessarily their own fault. Furthermore, you do not realize that you are only one step away from being homeless, through circumstances beyond your control. The shelter is operated under the Flagler County Family Assistance Center, Inc. I stress Family Assistance. The shelter helped many citizens of Flagler County over the last eleven years to prevent homelessness when they did not have the funds to pay electric, water, etc. Just because you are well of today, does not mean that you will be tomorrow. We further help the homeless to move not only out of the area, but the State of Florida. We paid for many bus tickets to get them to a family member willing to take them in. We do not increase the homeless, we decrease them. If you or yours ever need out assistance, we will help you despite your negative attitudes.

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