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For months, officials in Charlottesville have been quick to praise the Hope Community Center and its mission to help the less fortunate, yet trying to shut the Center down. Wednesday, the Center's leadership made the decision to give up their fight against the city.
"They're holding us within a distinction that's R-1," complained Center Director Josh Bare, "but within two blocks you can go to R-3 and beyond that it's business."
"They're saying that we would have to come to hotel standards," added Bare's father Harold, a pastor and president of the Hope Foundation. "Meeting that economically would require us to have to shut down in the interim time, do complete renovations [including a] sprinkler system."
Aside from building code violations, the Center sits right in the middle of the 10th and Page neighborhood, an area not zoned for an overnight homeless shelter.
Hope has received support and representation from attorneys at the Rutherford Institute. They say they're sorry the Bares decided to give up their battle.
"They got a little sideways with the city as far as zoning [but] we are prepared as legal advocates to pursue every avenue to help Pastor Bare."
City officials have indicated all along that despite their intentions, the center would have to go.
"They're still illegal," said city Director of Neighborhood Services Jim Tolbert. "There's nothing been said that they were not illegal."
As for the folks who called the shelter home, Hope is making every effort to ensure they won't wind up back on the street.
"We will bring together various organizations [in an] attempt to place all of the people who are here over the next 30 days," the elder Bare promised. "We'll give it our very best effort."
The Center, which houses as many as 50 men, women and children each night, could have appealed to the Charlottesville Planning Commission next month, but there was mounting pressure on them from residents in that 10th and Page neighborhood to shut down.