Church Files Federal Lawsuit To Prevent Unlawful Eviction

Church Files Federal Lawsuit To Prevent Unlawful Eviction

Iglesia De Dios El Shaddai, a church in Homestead, Fla., filed a federal lawsuit yesterday in Miami to prevent its unlawful eviction from a community building located in the South Dade Labor Camp. The church is being represented the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit civil liberties education and legal defense organization dedicated to preserving religious freedom.

Iglesia De Dios El Shaddai ministers to residents of the low-income housing complex. It offers worship services and much-needed support to the residents, who are all migrant farm workers, in the form of free food and clothing as well as counseling and other spiritual ministries.

The church has shared space with a daycare facility in "Building One" on the campus of the South Dade Labor Camp for the last three years. In January, the church was told that it must leave Building One because the Housing Authority needed to expand the daycare, although the daycare has denied that it needs the space.

According to a press release from Liberty Counsel, the church offered several alternatives to the Housing Authority to allow it to remain on the property but each alternative was rejected. The Housing Authority instead filed a state court complaint against the Church seeking to evict the Church from the building. The Housing Authority has allowed the privately-operated daycare and gymnasium to remain in the building free of charge and is only seeking to evict the church.