The mission group that met resistance with its plans to locate a homeless shelter in Whiteville is looking for a building outside city limits where it can open in as soon as a month.
The Whiteville Planning and Zoning Board recommended that city council deny a conditional-use permit that would have allowed New Foundations Rescue Mission to operate a shelter and thrift store on Smith Street after neighbors expressed concerns.
The mission's founder, Wilton Lennon, withdrew the request last week prior to a public hearing before city council.
"I did not realize how close [the building is] to the residential neighborhood and how upsetting that was going to be on that particular community," Lennon said.
The shelter, which will initially house up to 12 people, will be funded in part by the mission's two thrift stores. The Tabor City store has been in operation since late April, and a location in Brunswick opened last week.
Lennon said the shelter will provide temporary housing, food and clothing for people in need.
"We're trying to catch the folks that fall between the cracks," he said. "We want to be a home between homes."
Lennon stresses shelter residents will be required to work or look for a job within a week of arriving at the shelter.
The mission will not help people who are "happily homeless," who Lennon describes as "those who would rather feed their addictions, habits – whatever they are – instead of pay their bills."
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