Christian homeless shelter forced to move after Christians from nearby church complain

The Merced County Rescue Mission had to look for a new home after providing three meals a day since 1998

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A Christian homeless shelter in California was forced to relocate after Christian neighbours across the street made complaints.

The Merced County Rescue Mission stopped serving meals for more than a week this month, leaving hundreds of homeless people to look elsewhere. 

Executive director Bruce Metcalf said the temporary closure was an attempt to be a "good neighbour" after receiving complaints from members of the Central Presbyterian Church, which is opposite the shelter.

"I don’t think complaints are different than they’ve ever been," he told The Independent. "I think people simply got tired to having it close by them and were anxious for us to find a new location."

"It’s true that anywhere, in any city, people aren’t interested in having homeless services next to them."

For 10 days, hundreds of homeless people were left to look elsewhere for a meal. The service had provided meals three times a day since 1998. 

The original Canal Street location continued to provide shelter, showers and treatment programs as usual, although the meal service had stopped.

The new service will start Monday evening at Calvary Temple in Merced.

"The location where we’re going to serve is much better as we have twice the space so we can serve more people easily," he said.

"It’s good news and we’re just very grateful."

Mr Metcalf said he is also searching for a larger building for the long term which can home all of the their services, seven days a week and 24 hours per day.

The mission also provides over 26,000 nights of safe shelter, according to its website.

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