Rescue Mission Facing Foreclosure

January 8, 2009 7:34:20 PM PST
The Los Banos Rescue Mission and the city's Salvation Army are facing uncertain futures because their property is in foreclosure.Both buildings are located at 4th Street and Center Lane.

The Rescue Mission has been renting its building since moving in back in July. But now that the facility is in foreclosure, leaders are looking to buy the property in hopes of protecting people in need.

Anita Randazzo stumbled upon the Los Banos Rescue Mission by chance at a time when she needed shelter and hope the most.

"I had been homeless, living under a tree out by Food 4 Less, and hadn't eaten for like 3 days and I went to the Salvation Army and it was closed and someone told me to come here, they had just opened," said Randazzo.

Six months later, Anita has a job and a home thanks to the services offered here. But now, the building itself is in jeopardy.

Rev. Hammond said, "It's just all the more important that we keep going and don't give up."

Reverend Stephen Hammond recently learned the Rescue Mission building and the Salvation Army facility next door are in foreclosure. Both agencies had been renting their spaces from Victory Outreach Church. But now reverend Hammond is hoping the mission can buy the property so the two organizations can continue to meet a growing need.

"It looks like about 3500 homes are going to be foreclosed upon in Los Banos out of our 10,000, so there's a lot of people being displaced out of their homes, and that's hitting us hard," said Hammond.

Hammond is optimistic about the possibility of taking ownership, but doesn't know what will happen if the negotiations fall through. Randazzo, who now volunteers here, says the nearly 16 hundred people the mission currently serves would be left with nowhere else to turn.

"There's gonna be a lot of sick and hungry people out there if they close the doors to this place here," said Randazzo.

Right now the rescue mission is only open from 8am to 2pm. Reverend Hammond is hoping to expand to a 24 hour full service shelter. But along with buying the building, the mission must also wait for the city to approve the necessary zoning for a permanent shelter within city limits.

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