Pastor Facing Criminal Charges for Housing Homeless at Ohio Church

The pastor opened the doors to his church last March to anyone in need of a place to rest or get out of the cold.

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A pastor in Ohio is facing charges after he opened the doors of his church to the homeless.

As reported by WBTV, pastor Chris Avell of Dad’s Place, a church he founded in Bryan, Ohio, has been slapped with 18 zoning violations after offering his church to anyone in need of a place to sleep or get out of the cold.

Back in November, Avell was contacted by the Bryan City Zoning Commission, who told the pastor the building is prohibited from allowing people to eat, wash clothes, or sleep on the property due to it being zoned as a "central business." Avell ignored the letter, which resulted in law enforcement returning to Dad's Place in December to issue violations.

Chris Avell, the pastor of Dad's Place in Bryan, Ohio, was arraigned in court on January 11 for charges related to building code violations after he kept his church open to provide warmth and shelter for unhoused individuals. He pleaded not guilty to the alleged violations.…

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"A reasonable amount of time was given for both the tenant and property owner to fix the issues," Bryan police said in a statement. "Due to the safety of all involved, the city moved forward with filing charges.”

Earlier this week, Avell pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in municipal court.

“Many of these people have been rejected by their families and cast aside by their communities. So, if the church isn’t willing to lay down its life for them, then who will? This is what we’re called to do,” Avell said in a Fox News interview.

Avell’s attorney, Jeremy Dys, called the city’s actions “unconscionable.”

“The city would rather kick these folks to the curb in the cold outdoor months of December and early January than allow the church to remain open 24/7 to those who need it the most,” Dys shared.

Avell is scheduled to return to court in the next 30 to 45 days for another hearing regarding his charges.

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