Churches are often known for charity and altruism, helping out the community any way they can. When St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota was given a 132 square-foot home, they decided to give back to one homeless man in need of shelter. The church invited the man to live adjacent to the church and a community garden.
However, St. Cloud city inspectors noted that the tiny home did not meet city's standards for housing and therefore could not be used to house the man. The unit could also not be connected to any of the primary building's utilities, and the church was ordered to vacate and disconnect the tiny home from any utilities ASAP. The church has filed a lawsuit claiming the inspectors and the city have violated their right to use their religiously-affiliated land in whatever way they wish.
The city requires that any housing unit must be at least 21 feet wide and 30 feet long, or 630 square feet). Accessory dwellings (over 100 square feet) also require permits.
Reverend George Ham told local channel ABC 5 News that, “People in the homeless community are looking to us (for help).” Ham says he does not wish any ill will on the city itself but wants the situation resolved as soon as possible and preferably out of court. Ham mentioned that the church previously asked for a zoning variance in 2015, which does not seem to have been granted.
Watch the news story from ABC 5 News (KSTP) below: