Manchester, church group seek accord on breakfast for homeless
The Parks Division had denied a permit to "Do you know Him? Ministries" to use Veterans Memorial Park, where it was allowed to serve the breakfast last year. News of the move sparked an outcry, with some charging that the city was turning its back on the needy.
Sullivan also emphasized that he didn't think the business community was to blame for the permit being denied.
"I went to a meeting with the chamber," Sullivan said, referring to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. The group, he said, did not have a problem with the breakfast, but some questioned whether Veterans Park was the right venue.
In an earlier interview, Parks Chief Peter Capano indicated that members of the business community had raised concerns about the Veterans Park location.
"There's an awful lot of events there over the weekends," he said. "We wouldn't want to have to tell the group on any given Sunday that they can't use the park."
"Do we have people who are homeless and need a hand-up? Absolutely," Gatsas said. "Do we have people from other communities coming here? Yes we do."
"We have known that forever," Long said. "The problem is nobody ever cataloged it."
Long said city service agencies are making progress in quantifying the homeless population and the services they provide.
Long added, "If I'm having a hard time feeding my family, I'm taking them down there for breakfast. If you need breakfast, then God bless you, come get breakfast. But we need to identify that. Are there 200 homeless people coming, 300?"
"Do you know Him? Ministries" had been using Veterans Park to serve the breakfast on the weekends until December, when it took the operation indoors at the Salvation Army.
The group has continued to use the Salvation Army grounds to serve the breakfast.
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