LOMPOC - 16 beds inside the multi-purpose room at the New Life Christian Center and Academy on North C Street in Lompoc are part of what Pastor Doug Conley says is fulfilling the church's mission
"Somebody has to reach out to them, somebody has to give them food, shelter and clothing", Conley says, "I can't see having a church that sits empty except for Sunday, that makes no sense to me."
Conley says of the 14 adults currently at the shelter, all have been carefully screened for any criminal or legal background problems as well as for substance abuse issues.
"We're not trying to get them into some government program, or trying indoctrinate them into something", Conley says, "we're here to meet their needs and help them find jobs."
For homeowners in the neighborhood around the New Life Christian Center on North C Street, having a homeless shelter across the street is a sensitive and delicate issue.
Some neighbors say the shelter is always quiet and under control.
"I have no problem", says Kent who lives next door to the shelter, "I've got three grand kids, they're not a problem, they're nice people."
Other neighbors who wished to speak off camera say they support the need for more homeless shelters in the community, so long as they are not in residential areas.
"We are not re-zoning", Pastor Conley says about the shelter, "its (already) zoned for a shelter because churches and schools all must be in residential areas, we were approached by the city to do this, and so we did it, but since there are those who have been unhappy, we're doing everything possible to work with them."
Conley is hosting another community meeting at the shelter on February 16th at 5pm to address any of the concerns the neighbors have.
He's also planning to serve a free meal to everyone who attends.
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