City Walk Urban Mission Files Lawsuit Based on Free Speech, Religious Freedom

City Walk Urban Mission Files Lawsuit Based on Free Speech, Religious Freedom

The City Walk Urban Mission filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Tallahassee on February 8, 2022. The lawsuit comes after the shelter’s permit application was denied some weeks ago. The denial of the permit meant that City Walk was operating out of compliance with city codes.

City Walk ( plaintiffs) claims that the City of Tallahassee ordinances and policies violates the shelter’s First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and religion.

City Walk seeks a declaratory judgment finding the City of Tallahassee ordinances, policies and practices to be unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Plaintiffs also demand damages against the Defendant for losses occasioned by the unconstitutional application of the City’s laws and policies against the Plaintiffs.

The lawsuit argues that the City Walk mission practices and expresses their religious beliefs through the operation of the homeless mission and that City Walk’s religious beliefs and religious practices have a free speech component.

Gary Edinger, the shelter’s attorney, told local media that “operating a homeless mission for this group is the expression of their religious faith, so it’s inseparable.”

In addition, the lawsuits alleges the following related to the City of Tallahassee:

— The CITY fails to provide sufficient sites to allow religious missions providing transitional residential services to open and operate.

— The Tallahassee Code sets up an impossible Catch-22 for religious missions: transitional residential facilities must not be located too close to residences but they also must be cited near public transportation such as bus stops which are invariably located near residential areas.

— The criteria used to deny CITY WALK’s application – namely a change in the character of the neighborhood – applies to any other location where CITY WALK may apply for permission to operate; there are no conforming locations in the City which would not experience a change in character of the community.

— Transitional residential facilities are barred from industrial districts which are effectively the only zones (other than rural agriculture lacking in infrastructure) where transitional residential facilities can be screened or segregated from commercial and residential neighbors.

Edinger said they expect the trial to begin with a briefing followed by oral arguments. They are also requesting the court to prohibit the city from enforcing discretionary zoning against the shelter until the end of the case. They expect the federal process will take around a month to complete.

8 Responses to "City Walk Urban Mission Files Lawsuit Based on Free Speech, Religious Freedom"

  1. DTH, emergency.
    Like for the duration of the 10 million, 20 million, 30 million short of full employment levels emergency?
    The flood of invaders & other illegal aliens emergency?
    The flood of cheap, pliant, low-skilled guest-work labor with flexible ethics (h/t “Grosse Pointe Blank”) emergency?
    The USA national security leaks emergency?
    The Bitemflation cutting off energy supplies, crony socialist mal-spending & over-spending emergency?
    The depressed employment because of harmful to health & prosperity lock-downs emergency?
    The Red Chinese fentanyl flood through international criminal gangster syndicates, melamine to fool protein tests of pet food, over-priced drop-forged frangible tools, Uyghur/Uighur enslavement & genocide, attack & abuse the Christians, organ harvesting emergency?
    I lose track of them all.

    Skeptic, yes, weren’t there 2 such? One East of Macomb & another West? (Both not far from the bus stations.) One secular, the other religious?

  2. The city has ruined the Pensacola street corridor where their own operated homeless shelter is but somehow the location of CityWalk is an issue? I’m not in support or opposition for City Walk but what warrants the hypocrisy based on where the city locates their funded section 8 housing or operated homeless shelters. Look at the I10 corridor off Monroe and thank your city for that too with vouchers to hotels in the area during Covid.

  3. I don’t see even a remote relation to free speech and religious freedom to the City Walk situation which they find themselves in.
    City Walk likely has a overly controlling my way or the highway leader who thinks free speech and religious freedom are relevant…but they are not. Or perhaps City Walk has an idiot for their legal counsel.
    I’m not even sure if City Walk’s motivations for being involved with the homeless are noble and not actually based on profit motivations.
    The overall public opinion of City Walk seems to be very negative. Sorry in advance to anyone who has the knee jerk reaction that City Walk is related to a church and it may be blastfimous to even think about questioning their motivations.
    Truth is City Walk has a negative public opinion and could at least do something to clear that up if their motives are indeed pure. But in all fairness: perhaps full disclosure would be helpful for City Walk’s public image by way of opening up their financial statements and mission statement for public review.

  4. For many years there was a mission on West Tennessee Street near Copeland. It was primarily sponsored by one of the local Baptist churches and run by a guy that had had his own checkered past. His “atonement” was helping the people (primarily men) that came through the mission. The rules were simple. Living at the mission wasn’t an intervention — they weren’t breaking your drug or alcohol dependency. Drugs and alcohol weren’t allowed. Your first 30 days at the mission was an acclimation period. You learned to keep a daily routine, interactions with others, etc. At the end of the 30 days the mission helped you find a job. When you got paid you handed it over to the mission, who held it for you. On work days you were handed “lunch money” daily out of your own money. After several months of steady employment you had accumulated enough money to pay deposits, first and last month’s rent, etc. and were transitioned to your own place.

    They did wonderful work. I’m not aware of ANY taxpayer funded endeavor with the kind of dedication and success that that mission had.

  5. If dealing with mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction and homelessness aren’t difficult enough, locating a facility will adversely effect the safety and security of the area, and will destroy the value of the homes people work so hard to attain. I think the only solution is to bring these people to a secure facility in the evening and return them to the place they were picked up the next day. Living on the streets has to be outlawed. I realize these people just want to be left alone, but it’s for their own good, and it may force many to seek help. The church has been helping the needy for centuries and we need to do whatever we can to help, or at least not stand in their way…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.