Merced homeless worried after rescue mission announces change

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A sign at Merced Rescue Mission states that the mission will temporarily stop their meals and that their future location is uncertain. (KFSN)

In the North Valley, there's a sign standing in front of the Merced Rescue Mission that's sparking concern in the community. The sign states that the mission will temporarily stop their meals and that their future location is uncertain.

Alongside the Central Presbyterian Church sits the Merced Rescue Mission that serves meals to thousands of homeless people in the area a year and one of those people is Bruce Ault. He said the shelter has been his home for years and depends on it for some food and a bed.

"I sleep there now," he said. "I've been homeless since 2013."

But Ault said he never saw this coming, a sign on the door of the mission that left him speechless

"Nobody's ready," he exclaimed. "I wasn't ready - just to see the note on the door I was shocked."

The sign states the mission will not be providing meal services at their Canal Street location starting next month. However, Executive Director Bruce Metcalf said they're not closing but expanding. He said they hope to be in the new location before October. If not, they may have to stop their meal service for a few days.

"I really hope that doesn't happen," Metcalf said. "I hope we don't have to stop serving meals at all because we're really concerned for people that are homeless."

The mission's building is owned by the Central Presbyterian Church and Metcalf said, recently, the church expressed some concern.

"There's been some concern about people defecating in places that are not appropriate and people who bring their children for youth programs," he said.

Now, he said they're in talks with The Salvation Army and another church in town for their new location

"We want to make sure that people who need food, get food," Metcalf said.

And while Ault goes around table to table to find the services he needs at the homeless connect event, he said he'll follow his home.

"They've helped from putting me in a place to everything else," he said.
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