No to New Life

Sunday, December 20, 2009

As the result of a ruling by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must reconsider its decision denying the Rev. Larry Rice's organization, New Life Evangelistic Center, the use of the old federal building in downtown Cape Girardeau for a homeless shelter.

The judge said it appears New Life has the resources to offer the services it proposes. Another issue -- New Life's ability to offer primary-care medical services -- shouldn't have been a factor because New Life's application didn't propose it, the judge said.

So the main issue, at least for the judge, is whether there is a need for a 48,000-square-foot facility like the one proposed by New Life, which anticipates serving as many as 2,000 homeless individuals in Southeast Missouri.

The community's opposition to the plan hasn't changed. The needs of the homeless are being met in communities throughout Southeast Missouri, including Cape Girardeau. Opening a center like the one proposed by New Life would attract homeless people from St. Louis to Memphis and every town in between to a downtown historic district working to revitalize itself by encouraging entrepreneurs. On that basis alone HHS should reject the New Life plan.

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