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Doing God's Work: Dundalk church fined $12,000 for helping homeless

Doing God's Work: Dundalk church fined $12,000 for helping homeless (WBFF)

DUNDALK, Md. (WBFF) – FIRST ON FOX | A church in Dundalk is being fined $12,000 for doing what the pastor calls “God’s work.”

Rev. Katie Grover, of Patapsco United Methodist Church, explained that a few homeless people have been using the property for refuge.

Grover said, “I can’t control who sleeps here at night unless I’m here all day and all night. Homelessness, poverty, it’s chronic. At this point in time, the best we can do as a church is just be a place of refuge and not be chasing people who are just trying to sleep."

But across the fence, the property owner next door is not sympathetic. Chester Bartko has notified Baltimore County officials about the homeless and says it’s a problem. He even hung a sign on an apple tree in his yard complaining about the urine.

Bartko said, "This tree killed by bums dumping urine. If the church won’t conform to community standards, what else is left? The county and state has facilities for homeless people. They shouldn’t be here living like this."

The church received a citation for $12,000 for “non-permitted rooming and boarding house.”

Rev. Grover said, “This is the business that we conduct carrying for the least, the last and the lost, and the best we can do right now is let them take refuge. I had one woman say this is the only place she felt safe to lay her head down to sleep at night because she has no place else to go. It’s an issue with no real good solution, but we as a church believe that Christ has called us to serve the least, the last, and the lost."

The church has until December 18 to comply or pay the fine.

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