City Walk Urban Mission sues the city

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On February 8, City Walk Urban Mission filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Tallahassee for violating their right to religious freedom and freedom of speech. The focus of City Walk Urban Mission states, “We focus to help those experiencing homelessness. Our priority is to introduce them to the love of Jesus and let God transform their lives from the inside out.”

City Walk Urban Mission aims to provide shelter and deliverance to homeless people that need this assistance. The decision to pursue a federal lawsuit against the City of Tallahassee derived from the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission denying City Walk Urban Mission’s permit application to continue being a traditional housing area for homeless citizens.

Despite their traditional housing accommodations being revoked, City Walk Urban Mission continued to advocate for the homeless by applying for a permit to operate as traditional housing. The federal lawsuit implies that City Walk Urban Mission are being denied their religious freedom due to religious beliefs and practices not being exercised without their approach of assisting the homeless.

City Walk Urban Mission offers a recovery program that promises licensed mental health counseling, clothing, shelter, hygiene items, basic transportation, advisors and personal mentors to an array of individuals suffering from drug-abuse, incarceration, or homelessness for 12 months. Without the permit to conduct traditional housing assistance, City Walk Urban Mission will not be capable of providing all of these amenities to their residents.

The federal lawsuit is filed as a complaint for declaratory judgment, permanent injunction and damages. City Walk Urban Mission is seeking a declaratory judgment that would declare the policies, ordinances and practices of the Tallahassee land development code to be unconstitutional in reference to the First and Fourteenth Amendment. City Walk Urban Mission claimed damages against the City of Tallahassee due to the mission enduring losses after being hindered by ordinances they considered to be unconstitutional.

The City of Tallahassee proposed a new ordinance pertaining to homeless camps and solicitation at the beginning of the new year in an effort to refrain from criminalizing the homeless.