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Palisades Park Orders Catholic Church To Stop Housing Homeless

PALISADES PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A Catholic church in northern New Jersey has been ordered by the borough of Palisades Park to stop using its basement as a sleeping area for the local homeless.

The demand comes nearly a week after a homeless day laborer was found dead in the basement of St. Michael Roman Catholic Church, reports.

The Bergen County Medical Examiner has yet to release a cause of death for the 34-year-old. He was one of approximately six day laborers that the church's pastor, the Rev. Minhyun Cho, took in during a recent cold spell.

"I have known that there are seven or eight people who are sleeping under the bridge in Palisades Park and I purchased a sleeping bag so they can use them, but one day the weather was extremely, extremely cold and they knocked on my door," Cho told 1010 WINS.

He said he tried to rent a room in town and an RV for them to stay in, but was unsuccessful.

"One day I just asked them to come in and just stay there," Cho said.

Borough administrator David Lorenzo says St. Michael doesn't have the zoning or permits to operate its basement as a residence.

Cho says he's worried others will die if they are forced to sleep on the streets.

"I don't know what to do," Cho said. "I'm going to talk to town hall. I think the town is very understanding and helpful so we'll try to come up with something to help them because people could die."

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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