Drama builds in battle over homeless shelter in Franklin Square

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An emergency housing shelter in Franklin Square is not sitting well with residents, the village or the Catholic Church.

The Broken But Not Destroyed Homeless Shelter in Franklin Square is a safe haven for homeless women and children. But as News 12 has reported, hundreds in the community were outraged to learn that St. Catherine's Church signed a five-year lease with the shelter.

The church, the shelter’s landlord, has since sued the shelter. And just this month, the town of Hempstead slapped it with several building code violations.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre tells News 12 the shelter has to cure its building and zoning violations within four months.

MORE: Franklin Square shelter plan met by community pushback

“They’re saying the individual rooms do not meet the measurements for two people, although it meets the state requirements,” says Executive Director Kayde Austin Thompson.

Thompson says they’ll fight it all in court, but that the battle has hit an all-time low.  She claims a parishioner broke into the shelter van and stole $400 in cash. It was caught on surveillance video a few weeks ago, and Thompson filed a police report.

Some residents are still upset the shelter is in the neighborhood. But Britney, who’s been living in the emergency housing with her 2-year-old son for the last two weeks, says she’d be out on the street without it.

“It's giving me that stepping stone where I can have time to actually look for a place while being in my situation,” she says.

The diocese says the homeless shelter must continue to pay its rent and comply with the lease agreement. Meanwhile, the shelter has a town court date on Sept. 13.

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