Move out day for East Texas Rescue Mission

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It was move out day for residents at the East Texas Rescue Mission. The Mission has been forced to close its doors following a Tyler City Council decision.

The facility violated city building codes, and the board of directors say it was these violations that opened their eyes to a larger problem.

The trouble started with the 48 beds that were added on to make room for more homeless men at the East Texas Rescue Mission. But, when the city ruled the renovations against zoning code, the board of directors was surprised by the research.

"The Rescue Mission was paying rent to somebody and we knew that, but then we later came to find out that it was Tony (the Rescue Mission's director)," said Brian Brandt, a former board member of the Mission's board of directors.

He says all of the board members quit when they found out they were leasing from Tony Chung, paying him $2,000 a month with donation money.

"It was troubling and surprising," said Brandt.

It is troubling news for the board and the Mission's residents. One woman asked us to conceal her identity. She is taking one of the men to her church.

"You've got 40 men with no homes on the street," she said.

But, Brandt says the former board of directors have not forgotten about the men.

"Right now, a lot of the men that were in that shelter recently have gone on to the Salvation Army or to the Highway 80 Rescue Mission," said Brandt. "Others have gone to be with their families in this area. One of our board members drove men to Nacogdoches to a Mission there."

The Salvation Army in Tyler says their doors are open to the men as long as they pass their screening process.

"We have women and children in our facility, no sexual offenses, no sexual assaults or any kind of aggravated assaults can be on their records," said Steve Houston, with the Salvation Army.

We contacted Tony Chung, but he declined to comment.

A former board member said all but two of the residents have a place to stay Monday night.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.