Don't Give Him That Old-time Religion

A former resident files suit against the Miami Rescue Mission

"We as Christians don't sue each other," declares Ricky Davis, a shelter resident. "We go to each other and try to reconcile our differences. The people who get kicked out of here really want to get kicked out. The way I look at it, when you get here, it's intensive care, you're in bad shape, and if you really want to help yourself, no matter how crazy it sounds, whatever they tell you, you're going to do it."

But Donna MacDonald, executive director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, says requiring down-and-out people to adhere to a set of religious beliefs in order to receive room and board can put them in philosophical quandaries they're not equipped to face. And with Dade's shortage of facilities, most homeless people can't easily transfer to a comparable program. "To me it's an abuse of people when you expect them to act a certain way to get three meals a day and sleeping privileges," MacDonald asserts. "These types of programs don't accommodate people like Lucious, who don't fit a mold.

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