Lenexa church sues city for blocking homeless shelter

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LENEXA, Kan. (AP)-- A Lenexa church is suing the city for denying its request to use its building as a temporary homeless shelter.

KCUR reports that the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church alleges the denial infringes on its exercise of religion.

Its lawsuit contends charity and service are integral to its mission, and cites biblical passages that decree providing for the needy.

Lenexa City Manager Beccy Yocham denied the request, saying it did not conform with the zoning code.

The church occupies a former elementary school building adjoining commercial properties, but its building is zoned residential single family.

The church seeks to provide overnight shelter for up to 40 homeless individuals per night from December through March. It recently partnered with Project 1020, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing to homeless people.