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Zoe Shelter for Homeless Is Called Uninhabitable by City

June 04, 1993|MATTHEW MOSK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The city of Oxnard posted notices calling the embattled Zoe Christian Shelter for the homeless unlivable. It has no running water, no heat and minimal electricity. But the people keep coming.

Fred Judy, who has fought to keep the shelter open, said 12 people still call the Zoe Shelter home despite the city's efforts.

"You can't tell a homeless person not to come and get a roof over his head," Judy said.

City housing officials decreed last Friday--one day after the shelter's water was shut off--that Zoe was not habitable. By that time, housing officials had found homes for 68 Zoe residents. The center, on Rose Avenue in Oxnard, owes more than $43,000 in unpaid water and trash bills.

Judy said Bernard MacElhenney Jr., Zoe's landlord, has offered to accept new bills for utilities while Zoe tries to pay off the existing ones. But Tom Wilson of the utility billing office said city officials are not certain they are willing to enter into such an arrangement.

Residents now are drinking bottled water and using portable toilets.

Meanwhile, city inspectors took a second look at Zoe this week, this time to determine whether the shelter was safe to enter. Results of that inspection are due early next week.

If the residents remain, they and the property owner would be subject to fines. City Atty. Gary Gillig said the decision on whether to enforce the notices was under "constant review."

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