Charlotte County supervisors sign off on permit for Love Over Crisis

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2022

After months of waiting, Love Over Crisis has received the go-ahead in the form of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to open a Temporary Emergency Housing Program for single adults in Charlotte Court House.

In February, Love Over Crisis LLC requested a zoning change to the county’s ordinance to allow a housing program. The zoning amendment was needed due to the shelter looking to locate in the County’s General Agriculture Zoning District.

“To finally have the CUP approved for Love Over Crisis allows us to move forward, renovate the building and continue providing quality services,” said CEO Shelley Mays-Couch. “When one idea is cast down, that doesn’t mean give up, it’s just motivation to continue thinking and find another way to serve in another way. 

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) vote for the CUP was not unanimous Mays-Couch said she was thankful that the CUP was approved. 

Before last month’s vote, several BOS members raised questions about who would and would not be expected into the emergency housing program. 

Love Over Crisis has been quick to point out that they are a Christian organization and stand by many Christian beliefs. 

During the September BOS meeting, Supervisor Garland Hamlett, Jr. asked  Mays-Couch if they would accept someone of a different faith that may be in need of services. 

Although the CEO did not directly answer the question, she stood firm on saying the organization is Christian based and follows the guidance of the bible.  

Supervisor Hazel Bowman Smith was the lone no vote of the BOS. However, she did not state her reasoning for voting no. 

In an email, Mays-Couch said there had been concerns about medical services, mental health services, transportation, medical transportation, nutrition services, substance abuse services access, spiritual guidance, employment support and training.

Mays-Couch said many individuals are on the edge of homelessness and may be doubled up with friends and relatives or paying extremely high proportions of their resources for rent, putting those individuals in survival mode non-stop.

“Lack of support for homeless individuals in rural areas can be one reason for the substance abuse epidemic in Charlotte County and other rural areas and an increase in mental illness,” Mays-Couch said.

According to Mays-Couch, Love Over Crisis staff and contractors will continue to utilize their faith and creativity to provide efficient and effective human services within the scope of its practice.