MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - A Milwaukee church has been ordered to close a homeless shelter it’s been running for years without a city license. Officials learned about the shelter after the Fire Department was called to the Word Is God Worship Center for a medical emergency on Tuesday night – and they found excessive levels of carbon monoxide. About 60 people were evacuated. They were homeless people sleeping there overnight. Pastor Lamar Beverly-Davis says he provides the shelter each winter out of compassion for the cold and needy – and he doesn’t ask for money or permission.
Todd Weiler of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Services Department said a person was living in the basement, in violation of the church’s occupancy permit. And the pastor was told to evict that person within 24 hours and not run a shelter until he gets a license. Alderman Bob Bauman said he didn’t know the church had a shelter. He doesn’t mind it – but he says it must be regulated for health and safety concerns, and the neighborhood has a right to comment on the land use. As for the carbon monoxide, authorities said the church might have caused it. Repairs were made to the furnace Wednesday, and then the building’s natural gas service was reconnected.