Augusta commissioner weighs in on Mercy Ministries code compliance

Augusta commissioner weighs in on Mercy Ministries code compliance

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The battle surrounding Mercy Ministries continues.

The red brick building nestled between the corner of  Crawford and Fenwick Avenue was opened to lend a helping hand to people trying to get on their feet.

But for nearly a decade, Mercy Ministries has found itself at the center of controversy time and time again.

"I've been hearing from both sides. People think that Mercy Ministries is doing a good job. I think that they are. Then, people saying that Mercy Ministries needs to go," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

A Richmond County magistrate judge granted officials representing the homeless shelter a continuance to get the property up to code.

As the commissioner representing the area Mercy Ministries calls home, Fennoy said regardless of how noble the work is, the building must be up to code.

"The primary concern is the safety of the people that live there," said Fennoy.

The code issues plaguing the building, that include fire violations and improper zoning, center around Mercy Manor.

That's where residents who pay $300 a month can grab a room to make their home.

Code enforcement officials tell Fox 54 that they have been made aware that repairs were happening to the building, but inspectors have not been back out to check for compliance.

Representatives with the Augusta Fire Department say they're waiting on instructions from attorneys on both sides on how to proceed.

Mercy Ministries officials were not available for comment at the time of this story.

Fennoy said he understands residents surrounding the property are frustrated. But with code enforcement and Augusta Fire having done their part, it's time to let the process play out in the judicial system.

"Government doesn't work fast. Just wait and see what the court decides to do," said Fennoy.

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