Judge temporarily halts closing of Haven of Mercy


UPDATE: A judge has issued a stay temporarily preventing the closure of Haven of Mercy.

The injunction issued during an emergency meeting Friday morning temporarily orders a stay in the evacuation and closing of the facility, according to Richard McClain, executive director of the Johnson City Housing Authority (JCHA).

After a city board declared the downtown shelter unsafe for human habitation, the city placed an order of eviction on the door of the building this morning.

But this morning, the Haven of Mercy along with a long-term resident of the shelter requested an injunction in Washington County Chancery Court. Their court filing claims that the city failed to provide sufficient notice to the owner or tenants.

A judge met with attorneys for the city and the Haven of Mercy and ordered the eviction be halted until a hearing on March 1.

Haven of Mercy has since reopened and those who entered occupancy there before Feb. 10 have been allowed back in the three-story shelter and church building where about 70 tenants live.


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Johnson City officials temporarily shut the doors at the Haven of Mercy amid safety concerns Friday morning.

The City’s Board of Dwelling Standards and Review said the facility had multiple building code violations and ordered the closure in January.

The city told News Channel 11 all clients at the Haven of Mercy are now out of the building.

Photo: WJHL

There was no specific confirmation on where those living at the Haven of Mercy will now reside.

Johnson City’s Director of Development Services, Preston Mitchell, said the next step is for Pastor and CEO of Haven of Mercy, Grant Rockley, to submit plans to correct the violations needed for approval.

“Our ultimate goal is for Mr. Rockley to reopen this facility. This, as it’s been stated several times over the past several weeks is, this is an organization and a facility that provides a much-needed type of shelter, and food, and other care in our community and that’s very important,” Mitchell said.

After the appropriate measures are taken and the changes pass city inspection, people will be allowed back into the building, according to city officials.

Photo: WJHL

In a statement, Rockley said a general contractor has been hired to guide Haven of Mercy through the process.

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