Rescue Mission Pastor Speaks Out About ‘Skid Row’

By Stephanie Parkinson
By Maureen Mespell

May 18, 2012 Updated May 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Skid Row, it's a nickname that was recently given to an area in the Summit City. The spot is near The Rescue Mission. Some say it's where those who are kicked out of the mission go, and it has the leader of the local shelter upset.

"I saw a spirit of enablement, because there are a lot of wonderful people in the City of Fort Wayne but I don't think they understand the disease of alcoholism," said Rev. Donovan Coley, Sr. M.A. The Rescue Mission.

A recent article in the Journal Gazette explained how a local parish is helping to clean up Skid Row. In that article it explained that the pastor of The Christian Praise and Fellowship Church said he had heard this is where homeless people who were kicked out of the Mission went.

"And I said kicked out of the Rescue Mission. We will ask an individual to leave the rescue mission if they are not in compliance to our policies and procedures because what is of importance to us is the safety of our residents," said Donovan. "If you disrespect our staff and the residents, if they're a serious threat towards endangering a staff or a resident, or if you come in under the influence."

Friday Indiana's NewsCenter visited the site nicknamed Skid Row. We didn't find any homeless people there. The Rescue Mission says even if people are hanging out at the location after being barred from their live in programs The Rescue Mission will still help them in other ways.

"The majority of those people can also receive food and clothing and counseling and referrals to other agencies in our community," said Donovan.

Pastor Thom Ice from the Christian Praise and Fellowship Church tells Indiana's NewsCenter he was made aware of Skid Row by a homeless man. He said he is very grateful for the work the Rescue Mission does and understands why sometimes people have to be asked to leave.

Pastor Thom is taking part in the city's Great American Clean Up effort on Saturday. He says many area homeless people are also lending a hand and that is how he found out about areas that need attention, like the spot nicknamed Skid Row.

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