- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Advocates for the homeless are expressing outrage at an eastern Iowa city’s efforts to stop a center from feeding people in need and are threatening legal action unless the city drops its enforcement of zoning rules.

The city of Davenport issued a cease and desist order to Timothy’s House of Hope, saying current zoning regulations prohibit the organization from using its new location to feed the homeless, the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/2oPFbbQ ) reported. The organization moved from its former site earlier this month.

Attorney Mike Meloy represents the Compassion Church, which operates the facility. During a City Council meeting Wednesday, he said the city is discriminating against the nonprofit and is violating the state and federal constitutions as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Rev. Nick Cantwell, the church’s lead pastor, said it’s the mission of the church to reach out to all people, regardless of whether they have a home.

“We are asking you tonight to help us continue to help the people on Washington Street, people here in Davenport, Iowa, as we continue to reach out to the homeless,” Cantwell said.

City Council didn’t comment publicly on any of the testimony they received. Mayor Frank Klipsch said the city is willing to work out the issues with the organization.

“This was approached as a zoning issue not an anti-Timothy’s House of Hope issue,” Klipsch said. “We can definitely sit with them and staff and see what’s involved.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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