DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport ministry that had an extended fight with the city over its efforts to feed and assist homeless people has closed because of unexpected bills.
Timothy’s House of Hope closed Thursday after operating for nearly nine years, the Quad-City Times reported . Timothy’s is a ministry of Compassion Church.
Ministry founder and Pastor Jim Swope says the closure is influenced by about $8,000 in winter utility bills, health issues that prevented him from fundraising for about eight months and last year’s legal battle.
“We can’t take the church down,” Swope said. “We can’t go into next winter with $8,000 in bills. That’s why we have to be pro-active and put the building up for sale.”
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Ruhl & Ruhl listed the former Turner Hall for sale in April for almost $140,000.
The breakfast ministry operated in rented space for about eight years before moving to the 12,000-square-foot building in order to get more space.
Area residents and business owners expressed concern about homeless people being in the neighborhood.
The city issued a cease-and-desist order in April 2017, citing that zoning rules don’t allow for food to be served at the location. The city attorney determined in May that the meal fell underneath normal church activities and was allowed under existing zoning.
The church sued the city in August over the brief shutdown and was awarded $33,500.
The settlement money and a more than $30,000 grant from the Regional Development Authority went toward installing a roof over a portion of the building.