First Evangelical Congregational Church

Lebanon City Council will put its COVID-19 relief funds toward renovating First Evangelical Congregational Church and its adjacent church hall at South Sixth and Chestnut streets. 

LEBANON – Lebanon City Council awarded $200,000 of federal COVID-19 relief money to Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) for a new homeless shelter.

The funds will go toward renovating First Evangelical Congregational Church and its adjacent church hall at South Sixth and Chestnut streets, according to Lebtown. At a special city council meeting Aug. 13, Mayor Sherry Capello said a local charity, the Laurie & Dave Foundation, is negotiating to purchase the properties to lease to the LCCM. David and Laurie Funk told Lebtown on Aug. 16 that they had a sales agreement with the church.

LCCM previously ran its FRESH Start Emergency Shelter and Resource Center to support the homeless at several participating churches by rotating the location every two weeks. The use of multiple shelters made it too difficult to respond to and prevent the spread of COVID-19, so the pandemic forced the operation to shut down.

FRESH Start clients were moved to the Hammock Hotel on Quentin Road in Lebanon at an additional cost.

Developing a single location to house the homeless is an authorized use of 2020 CARES Act funds issued through community development block grants. The emergency funding for state and local governments is meant to support the public health response and boost economic recovery.

According to Lebtown, Capello said the CARES Act funds are authorized for the homeless shelter because it allows for easier disease control and assists low-income citizens.

Lebanon had to approve a plan for the COVID-19 relief money by Aug. 16.

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