City of Dallas Removes Roadblock to OurC - First Liberty

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City of Dallas Removes Roadblock to OurCalling, Local Church Ministering to Homeless

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August 24, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: 8.24.21
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

City of Dallas Removes Roadblock to OurCalling, Local Church Ministering to Homeless
City’s corrected interpretation of ordinance will allow OurCalling to continue fulfilling its mission during emergencies.

Dallas, TX—First Liberty Institute announced today that the City of Dallas has agreed that OurCalling, a local church and homeless ministry, may continue to stay open 24 hours when necessary during emergencies, such as freezing weather, so homeless individuals can stay safe when shelter space runs out.  In April, First Liberty sent a letter to city officials explaining that the city’s interpretation of an ordinance violated the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“TRFRA”) by preventing OurCalling from staying open.

“OurCalling is thrilled that it can continue to fulfill its calling to help people experiencing homelessness,” said Lea Patterson, Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “We commend the City for doing the right thing.”

Pastor Wayne Walker, OurCalling’s Executive Director said, “We are deeply grateful to the city for our long partnership and are truly blessed to be able to continue to help those in desperate need.”

OurCalling is a church and nonprofit ministry in Dallas that provides various homeless services. OurCalling partners closely with the Dallas Office of Homeless Solutions (“OHS”), as well as healthcare providers and other charities, including the North Texas Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, the Bridge, the Stewpot, Family Gateway, and many others. During the historic February 2021 snowstorm, OurCalling staffed the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, partnering with other organizations by providing shelter to over 1000 people.

According to the City of Dallas, “Homelessness affects the entire Dallas community, not just the persons who experience homelessness over the course of the year. More than 300,000 Dallas residents live in poverty and almost 600,000 live in housing distressed households. Of the 2,000 beds in Dallas shelters, the majority are full every night.”  This year, because of COVID-19 limitations, Dallas shelters are hundreds of beds short.

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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