SAN ANTONIO — Pastor Alex Fleming spends his days assisting the homeless at his Life Restored Church. But it comes at a cost. A price he and others members of the faith based community believe can be lowered.
"These are my people, and I'm speaking on behalf of my people that we need help on a consistent basis," Fleming said.
Wednesday, Fleming and those members were joined by former City Council member Greg Brockhouse to push for people and not the process. "We've done the leg work for the city council," Brockhouse said.
Fleming sought the mentoring of Brockhouse to draft a council consideration request to waive and reduce fees for faith based groups and non-profits that help the homeless at least three days a week.
"We're making a call of action to any council member who has compassion," Fleming said. " Any council member who says it's about time we bring the wall down and we partner."
The pastor has had his share of run-ins with the city about being compliant to on human services rules.
He serves 400 meals weekly and 180 showers a month to those in need.
In July, the city's Development Services Department said the church was not properly zoned and didn't have the permits required to serve the homeless legally. Fleming received six violations. He was fined $1,800.
"Help us help the people you also want to help," he said. "And let's become partners together."
In Fleming's council request, he wants council members to reduce or waive fees associated with planning and zoning, building code costs, food permits, property taxes and existing fines levied for non-compliance.
Any council member can choose to champion the request, Brockhouse said.
Fleming's church is in Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales' district. She didn't shoot his idea down. "It's a complicated issue. What constitutes helping the homeless? Many nuances would have to be clarified," she said in a statement.
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