The Roanoke Rescue Mission received some criticism at yesterday’s Roanoke City Council public hearing before a vote was taken to turn camping on downtown city streets into a misdemeanor. Some opponents of the ordinance said the Mission’s “barriers” to accepting the homeless in its shelter leave too many people out in the cold. In light of that the Rescue Mission issued this statement today:

In light of the homeless camping ban ordinance that was passed yesterday by the Roanoke City Council, we will continue to do what we have always done, serve those in need. We know that an organization best serves its people when it responds to comments and concerns from those affected. We are listening, and we know the face of homelessness is constantly changing. As homelessness changes, we will do our best to serve each and every individual who needs services in our city. Our staff is undergoing training to better understand some of the challenges our guests and potential guests are facing. We do this because we know our primary responsibility is to help people get off the street, get them the services they need, and to help them find long term, stable housing. To everyone who spoke last night, we thank you for your feedback. At the end of the day, our goal is a common one, saving the lives of those who are homeless, addicted, and in need of help in our community.