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West Ventura Focus

Shelter Appeals Plan to End Water Service

May 18, 1993|FRED ALVAREZ

Operators of the Oxnard-based Zoe Christian Center on Monday appealed a decision supporting the city's intention to shut off the center's water supply for failing to pay a $45,000 utility bill.

City workers were prepared to cut off water service Wednesday morning to Zoe's Rose Avenue homeless shelter and its Hayes Avenue facility for homeless women and children.

The appeal most likely will delay the cutoff date, said Tom Wilson, customer service supervisor for Oxnard's water department.

"Usually an appeal is about whether a bill is in dispute, not about whether a customer can afford to pay the bill," Wilson said. "I think they're just delaying the inevitable."

Earlier this month, water officials notified Zoe that its service would be severed unless the shelter could come up with at least half of the outstanding $45,000 utility bill.

The Rev. Fred Judy, founder and president of Ventura County's only year-round shelter for homeless families, said he appealed the termination notice last week and was told on Friday that the appeal had been denied.

Judy filed a final appeal Monday, the last step in the administrative process.

"I want the city to work fairly with me, I want them to stop playing games with me and I want them to care about the homeless," Judy said. "While we are fighting these political battles, the homeless are suffering."

Zoe and the city have long been at odds over homeless issues and the future of the Rose Avenue homeless shelter.

Until the center received the termination notice, Judy said he had agreed to close the center and allow Oxnard housing officials to relocate homeless residents.

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