Davenport, IA — A church in Davenport, Iowa, facing zoning restrictions related to its outreach program to feed the homeless, is appealing its local council and questioning the legality of the city’s regulations. This all stems from a cease and desist order they received — because feeding the homeless is not allowed when you’re zoned as a church.

Pastor Jim Swope founded Timothy’s House of Hope in 2009 and is associated with Compassion Church, which was founded by Pastor Nick Cantwell. One of the primary missions of the church is focused on outreach to poor and homeless individuals, offering addiction resources, haircuts, a food pantry, clothing, and meals at no charge, according to the ministry’s website. Timothy’s House of Hope center has estimated thousands of meals served each month.

Timothy’s House of Hope recently moved its operation from West 4th Street to Washington Street, which is where the Compassion Church is located. The center’s location change resulted in its closure just days later due to what has been described as “zoning issues.”

While the House of Hope was allowed to serve meals at the 4th Street location, their move to Washington Street is reportedly in violation of zoning ordinances. The church is permitted to operate on Washington Street, but “services to the homeless” are prohibited due to zoning regulations, according to the Quad-City Times.


Bruce Berger, Davenport’s economic development and planning director, said that the property must first be classified as a “Planned Institutional District” specified for “Housing and Supporting Services.”

The city appears to have taken a general position of seeking to abide by zoning regulations. Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch told WQAD News 8 that “We can’t let this be interpreted in any way that we do not support the great work that timothy house of hope is doing,” and has said that the city is reaching out to the city attorney to check the possibility of re-opening as the zoning issues are addressed.

In the meantime, however, to hell with the homeless people who need the food. They can starve whilst the church files the proper paperwork and red tape to help people.

In addition to the zoning issues, Swope has claimed that Davenport Alderman Ray Ambrose is specifically opposed to the notion of a homeless outreach center operating on Washington Street. According to Swope, Ambrose confronted him and “just lit into me and said he didn’t want bums on top of the hill” following the center’s relocation.

The Quad City Times reported that Ambrose acknowledged that he doesn’t view the center as a good fit for the area, which is a business district that he described as “most iconic.”

“It’s a huge issue with me and I’ll fight it to the very end,” Ambrose was quoted as saying. “I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the homeless as other people do.”

According to Radio Iowa, Ambrose “says the church lied about its plans and that a homeless outreach center does not fit into his vision for the district.”

A group of community members spoke out at a city council meeting on April 26 urging the city to allow the center to reinstate operations. Mike Meloy, an attorney working with the Compassion Church, argued that the “city of Davenport’s actions violate Pastor (Jim) Swope and Pastor (Nick) Cantwell’s religious freedom of association and religious rights protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (and) Article 1 section 3 of the Iowa Constitution.”

Drew Klein, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Iowa, shared his thoughts on the controversy. “It is truly appalling that city officials are citing long ignored zoning regulations to shut down a ministry that has done nothing but serve underprivileged members of the Davenport community,” Klein noted.

Klein was among other individuals at the meeting who called out Ambrose’s comments about the homeless and said that “Alderman Ray Ambrose’s words on this issue have been particularly distasteful, referring to members of the homeless community as bums and claiming he does not share his community’s sympathy for these individuals.”

“Shuttering a ministry that is doing incredible work in the community is probably not what their voters had in mind,” Klein added.

Klipsch reiterated that the city was hoping to work with the Compassion Church and Timothy’s House of Hope to reach a solution and that the issue was presented to the city as a zoning problem, not an act of opposing the work of the church.

New Hampshire-based writer Annabelle Bamforth is focused on breaking the left/right paradigm through new media and local politics. Annabelle is the editor-in-chief of Emmy-winning journalist Ben Swann's Truth In Media Project and a producer for Mr. Swann's Truth In Media episodes.
  • Wendy Colby

    Sounds like Alderman Ray Ambrose needs to be replaced with a human being because only monsters have no heart.

    • Guy

      Just ask any bleeding heart liberal, if they are Monsters or not ! I’am pretty sure you will get the same reaction of, Of Course Not !……..But then the truth may come out about. As long as there is not a homeless encampment next to them, or there schools, or homes, churches or place of work ! Then you may be shocked to hear, they all turn into Republicans pretty damn quick, and say as not as long as, “It’s Not In My Back Yard ! “

  • The Cat’s Vagina

    I’m pretty appalled to see a MAJOR grammatical error on the government form! It’s “these premises.” Trust me, just because the property is singular doesn’t mean you chose a noun that is!

  • Amor Terra

    SO inconsiderate of those homeless people to be poor–and homeless. If only they were wealthy, clean, and had homes to sleep in, we’d be happy to help them. (end of sarcasm)

    • hang3xc

      They might be clean and have homes to sleep in, though not necessarily wealthy, IF they weren’t drug addicts who cared more about their next fix than they do about bathing, or holding a job. The only homeless I feel any pity for are mentally disabled people who should be in institutions being cared for. The rest made their own beds, figuratively. Now they have to make their own beds nightly, literally.

      • Amor Terra

        You’re an asshole. And you lack empathy, compassion, and common sense. May you one day be in need of something and find someone just as charitable and caring as you are.

        • hang3xc

          I won’t be in need because I stay away from things like heroin, crack, and meth. THis allows me to bank money, which I have more than a years worth of bills and mortgage stashed away.
          I have plenty of empathy for people who deserve it, like women who have had acid thrown in their face, the mentally disabled who have been left to their own devices instead of being cared for, elderly people who are abused in nursing homes etc etc
          ALso have compassion and common sense. Just not for losers who created their own misery.

          • Amor Terra

            You mean like the half of people who overdose on heroin, who got addicted because a doctor started them on opioids? Or the women and kids who are homeless because assholes beat them up and they finally get out, but have no money or place to go? Or the veterans who got addicted to alcohol or drugs to try to self-medicate for PTSD because they were sent to murder people to make some extra money for corporations?

            And “in need” doesn’t necessarily mean a drug addict or homeless. Perhaps like the people who have diabetes or cancer because they eat crappy food their whole lives, become obese, and wind up in nursing homes–after “creating their own misery”.

          • hang3xc

            Boy, apparently their is NO place fore prescription meds in your little world. Everyone dying from heroin started of on doctor prescribed meds, and are now homeless as a result? Then you say UNTREATED soldiers who WEREN’T given meds are homeless because of it??? So those evil doctors are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Unreal

            The city I was raised in is chock full of addicts. My brother lives in a rooming house because he is a functioning crack addict. Almost every person in his 60 room rooming house is an addict of one drug or another. I have talked with MANY of them because the topic interests me, and NONE of them got started on evil opioids, made by evil pharmaceutical companies and prescribed by evil doctors.

            They took the regular route… they liked to party and get high, eventually graduating from lesser drugs, looking for a bigger high. Stop blaming doctors who try to help people. If people don’t take their meds responsibly and AS DIRECTED, yeah, they could have problems.

            People like you who blame doctors for all the addicts in the world are why people in chronic debilitating pain can no longer get any relief and live a life of absolute misery, with many taking their lives because they can’t bear to live in agony every day. Many doctors simply refuse to write opiate prescriptions anymore.

          • Guy

            Got to say that there is some truth into what you wrote, as apparently you do have some experience in it, having see for yourself the result of which you speak of !

            So in my opinion, such as it is worth. You are closer to the truth than you may realize. But just not all of it as you may suspect as being so ! For that, you would need to ask Trump and his predecessors what their plans are, and not thinking they are going to tell you ! But you may want to ask Rush Limbaugh or Dr. Mike Savage, from them you may get some of it unfiltered !

          • Amor Terra

            I blamed doctors for one-half of the opiate overdoses. Exactly what the studies blame them for, and not for every addict. And untreated soldiers with PTSD aren’t contrary to that, since one doesn’t treat PTSD with opioids. Besides, the great care given to returning military through the VA is “legendary” only in the sense that it exists only in legend. You need a course in logic to learn how not to conflate and bootstrap arguments. It makes you look like a fool, on top of looking like a heartless dick.

    • billdeserthills

      Yes, if only they had everything we have then we would be glad to pretend we cared

  • The Cat’s Vagina

    “I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the homeless as other people do.”

    On behalf of some of those “other people,” FUCK YOU! Horrible little shits like yourself are a HUGE part of the reason so many people are homeless – because the rich and powerful “don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling” for the people they fuck over.

    *bows her head in unabashed prayer* Lord, please do something to/with/about this motherfucker. I trust You’ll know just what is deserved and just!

    • Guy

      Go someplace else and be homeless Cat ! You’re making my nose twitch and my sines run with your offensive odour. My eye’s are hurting because of your dirty shoes and clothing. Plus, I am deeply offended that your kid’s may have some sort of community disease, that may spread to my clean and unaffected oh so bright and clean children !

      I’ll remind people, because we have apparently forgotten that. In 1929, 3/4 of the American Population was homeless or nearly so. Further over 75% of the American Population NOW ! Are one paycheck, one house payment and one serious illness, away from being Homeless ! Don’t believe me ? Look it up ! Statistics will prove that I am right ! Especially, with just about every red blooded American Kid and Adult over the age of 18, having 3 credit cards in there pockets, while being in depth enough to never being able to pay off there loans in their lifetimes, who are looking for even more credit, so they can afford to live their insane lifestyles, and the credit card companies and banks, telling them to buy even more on easy terms ! Damn Fools !

      • junktex

        Banksters and politicians are thriving though

        • Guy

          Thats all because they are to big to fail ! But you ain’t !

        • billdeserthills

          Like they need more money

          • Guy

            Whenever is there enough to satisfy even you, or how much is too much?

      • hang3xc

        “over 75% of the American Population NOW ! Are one paycheck, one house payment and one serious illness, away from being Homeless ”

        Sounds like over 75% of the population are fucking morons.

        • The Cat’s Vagina

          Beats being a fucking asshole, don’t ya think?

          • hang3xc

            No. I’d rather be an asshole than a moron, if only given those 2 options

          • The Cat’s Vagina

            Yeah, as both a genius AND a fucking cunt, I prefer the company of morons to assholes! (Nothing a male asshole resents more than a woman who’s smarter than him.)

          • hang3xc

            LOL. Good for you. Who cares whose company you prefer pr how smart you think you are. Real brilliant screen name BTW. Makes you look SO intelligent

          • Guy

            Leave her alone shit head ! Or I will personally come through your computers internet connection and beat you to death with your
            keyboard !

        • Guy

          Well are you ?

  • Guy

    In other words; Good work folks, as long as I don’t have to see, smell, or know that you exist, or are inconveniencing me in any way, shape or form, especially if I consider you to be dragging down my neighborhood, “You Bum’s”!!!!!

    What was true long ago is still true today, when she said after being asked, what would the people eat because they were starving ? “Let Them Eat Cake.”

  • Steve

    Everyday there is just one more reason to be proud to be a human.

  • John Karroum

    It is easy to take care of. First, the center that feeds the poor, don’t say it is a church! that is all you do. I would say, I am inviting my friends from the hiways and byways.

    • The Cat’s Vagina

      It would STILL be a “zoning issue” since the city is fine with churches, but pissy about anything that would help the homeless.

  • TeslaFan

    I was born and raised in the Midwest and thank God I don’t live there now. They would hate my progressive politics and compassion for those less fortunate. Screw em.

  • Progressive_Pedro

    This seems to be a common theme with the conservatives. These people are practicing Christ’s teachings in real time. Walking the walk promised by the talk. Is kindness dangerous now? In the early church, the sacrament was an actual communal meal. Worship actually nourished the body in a very real sense. In Roman-occupied Jerusalem, the sacrament may have been the only meal the congregants could count on. This is the kernel of the sanctity of the sacrament. If you don’t want to pay taxes for social programs, you could at least get out of the way of the people who are willing to do the heavy lifting. Don’t hamper the people who are reaching out to give someone a hand up.

  • WHERE are the voices of all those “conservative Christians” who are so concerned about “religious liberty”? Why aren’t they standing with this church—since Jesus himself spoke of serving “the least of these”? The (so-called) Christian Coalition–Ralph Red’s outfit has as one of its first priorities CUT TAXES FOR CORPORATIONS! The only “religious” values these people believe in are GREED & FORCING their backward social views on the rest of us through law.