GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It’s one of the few places in Gastonia where a person living on the streets can get a meal daily.
The property on North Oakland Street where meals are served is generating a lot of city code violations.
Moses Colbert runs the Faith, Hope, and Love Community Enrichment Ministries — a nonprofit helping the unhoused since 2003.
“They’re telling me that I am doing everything wrong and there is no wrong way or no right way to help people,” said Colbert.
Gastonia code inspectors have cited the pastor for two trailers on the property without proper zoning, trash on the property, and an RV on the property, which has been moved.
“When they say the trailers have to be up to code, they wouldn’t even let us get that far with it,” added Colbert, who says the ministry has applied to change zoning. “They just started fining us. We applied for everything, and they never let it go through.”
So far, the fines total close to $60,000.
A city spokesperson sent Queen City News a copy of the violations, which include having multiple buildings on the property.
In a written statement, the spokesperson said Mr. Colbert is free to feed the homeless, conduct classes, etc., during daylight hours but cannot provide overnight accommodations, which would constitute a shelter.
Colbert thinks there are other plans the public is not privy to, like the property being two blocks away from other government offices.
“That’s why this land is so valuable to them,” said Colbert. “When they get rid of us, and that is what they are trying to do. They’re going to use this for something else.”
The community has scheduled two rallies to bring awareness to the homeless issue in Gastonia for June 17th and 20th.