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Light Of Life Mission's Expansion Plans Hit Roadblock

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The homeless find opposition wherever they go.

Light of Life has been serving the homeless for six decades out of their North Side mission, but their plans to relocate are meeting resistance.

"[It] comes with the territory. Everybody cares about where they live, where they work," said Craig Schweiger, of the Light of Life Mission.

The plan is to renovate an abandoned school on Ridge Avenue and build a new, so-called satellite center off River Avenue, where the mission plans to have 40 overnight guests and about 72 people taking meals there during the day.

"A big facility, so it's a misnomer to call it a satellite facility when it's of that size and scale," said Tom Ayoob, the attorney for the property owner.

Some in the community have raised concerns about its close proximity to the Allegheny River Trail used by runners and walkers, as well as to the Sarah Heinz House afterschool program.

Building owners nearby have filed suit against the Zoning Board saying the building violates the city ordinance's size restrictions.

"Just increasing the number of people increases the impact on the community," said Ayoob.

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"It's ideal. I've looked for six year, it's ideal," said Schweiger.

The mission contends that the lot is about as remote as can be in an urban area, and that moving from the North Avenue location will be a benefit to the North Side.

The homeless have been a fixture on the North Side for at least half of a century, but this proposed expansion of services has met with some resistance, so now it will be up to courts to decide if it will be scaled back.

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