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City Walk served papers by City of Tallahassee, have until Saturday to comply

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 7:40 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - There is new pressure on a temporary homeless shelter in Tallahassee. This week, the city served papers to the Director of City Walk Church, Renee Miller, ordering her to cease operations.

The City Walk facility opened in November as a temporary cold night shelter. After complaints from several neighbors, it was denied a permit to stay open, but they have yet to comply.

The papers tell Miller that she must cease offering transitional housing by Saturday. If not, she’ll be fined $250 a day.

Miller says that if the City of Tallahassee will not allow her to operate, she will take matters to court.

City Walk, once again, finds itself at a crossroads.

“We have been expecting it, we saw it,” that’s what Miller shares in response to the video of her receiving a notice by The City of Tallahassee on Monday.

It states that her 60 clients must find another location in five days when the shelter is expected to close its doors.

“I should just put them on the sidewalk?” asks Miller. “That is sick, that is evil and I am ashamed of my Tallahassee government for trying to force me to do that.”

The cities order says City Walk does not have proper permits for an overnight shelter on Mahan Drive, but supporters say right now, this facility is the only option for some homeless people in Tallahassee.

One of those supporters is Darwin Phillips, who has been staying in the shelter for three months. His home was deemed unlivable, and after suffering a stroke he came to City Walk asking for help.

“Without them, I would be out there on the side of the road,” Phillips says pointing to the sidewalk across the street. “And I can’t walk, I don’t even have a tent. I am not supportive I can’t get up and do what I need to do. But they have been there for me 100%.”

Renee says that she will not stop housing those in need and will take matters to court if need be, “Tallahassee can skip all that if they want to make the right decision, and allow us to remain serving our congregation as we are...But if they continue to make the wrong choice we will continue to fight.”

Tuesday, WCTV asked Mayor John Dailey about the notice; he says he was not involved. The City Manager was not available for comment. Neighboring businesses WCTV spoke with did not want to go on camera, but they say they do not wish to have an overnight shelter next door.

Friday, supporters of City Walk, a local nonprofit called ‘The Dream Foundation’, is working with the shelter to host a town hall to come up with solutions to allow City Walk to continue operations.

It will take place at St Paul United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. on Friday.

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