GREENSBURG — A faith-based organization asked the Greensburg City Council Monday to help it acquire a building to turn it into a homeless shelter, but council members reacted with skepticism.
Oris Reece, of the Greensburg Ecumenical Agape Center, said the nonprofit is projected to spend about $92,000 this year to help the less fortunate, nearly double what it spent only two years ago.
The need for a shelter is growing, Reece said, while options for help remain few. Greensburg Schools, for example, counted 50 homeless students in the last school year, he said.
The Agape Center, which is run by members of 12 local churches, has outgrown its location on North Lincoln Street, and Reece said the organization envisions a new home at 302 McKee St., an unused building owned by St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
The Agape Center is considering joining forces with other local nonprofits to provide its clients with training to get them on a path toward self sufficiency. The center has agreed to purchase the building for $125,000 by Oct. 1, but does not yet have sufficient funds for the purchase or to renovate the structure, Reece said.
“We need help to purchase that building,” Reece told the council members.
Councilman Glenn Tebbe said he knows of the homeless problem and applauded the Agape Center on its efforts. And while he said that he was not opposed to helping the organization get into the building, he emphasized that he opposes the city running the center or supporting it annually.
He asked Reece to return to the council with a more detailed business plan that shows annual revenues and expenditures and how the organization plans to generate enough money to operate the center annually. Tebbe said he did not want to spend city money to support the purchase of the building only to risk the center folding because it cannot generate enough revenues to operate the new location.