The Bread of Life Mission is facing new code violations for junk and unsafe conditions by Charlotte County.
Run by Judy Jones, 71, this is the fourth time since January 2018 the county has cited the Christian-based homeless shelter at 6454 Scott St., Punta Gorda, for not being up to code.
The latest violations were noted during a code inspection on May 9.
Jones must correct these issues by June 11 or the case will move through the code enforcement process and, if needed, go before the code enforcement special magistrate for a hearing, according to Charlotte County spokesperson Brian Gleason.
“When you don’t have any funding, you do the best you can with what you got,” said Jones, who has a pantry in Arcadia. “They told me I have wires running, which I do to the refrigerators outside because we have an outside kitchen.”
In his inspection report, David Santimauro, of county code enforcement, wrote:
“We found junk conditions with outside storage, a tent set up with the person living in it, the back shed being used for living purposes, a refrigerator set up outside and a few extension cords being run for power ... it is not as bad right now as past visits I have had out there but there are violations to be addressed.”
The mission is not affiliated with other state agencies that deal with the homeless; however, Jones said she meets the regulations necessary to run a temporary homeless shelter.
How is Bread of Life funded?Jones said funding for her 501©3 organization is based solely on donations from friends, family and the homeless that stay there.
“I got donors, family and things like rummage sales and such that support the mission,” Jones said. “That’s what we do here, we are survivors. I’m like a Harriet Tubman, I can live off the land. The world that we live in, we don’t need luxury.”
Many of the people who stay at the camp are more than willing to donate to the cause. Eloise Thomson, who also receives disability, is a newcomer to the camp.
“One of the things that she does is help dysfunctional families that can’t get together because each one of these people have one thing in common: They don’t have family members helping them out,” Thomson said.
What about the future?Despite her run-ins with the code enforcement and other agencies over the years, Jones pledges to keep fighting for the homeless through the Bread of Life Mission.
“What I try to do is to do the right thing,” Jones said. “I may not be doing it the way society wants me to do it but I’m not in society. I’m just a nobody trying to help everybody. That’s who I am. I’m not trying to fit into others’ criteria, I’m just trying to please God, that’s all.”