Drake--and Shelter--Move to Aid Homeless

Trucks lumbered onto the grounds of First Southern Baptist Church on Thursday to deliver the first pieces of a donated temporary building that will house the homeless.

Two of the building's five pieces arrived from Burbank Airport; the rest are expected today.

"We kind of ran out of day," said the Rev. Wiley S. Drake, the church pastor who made headlines last year over his fight to shelter the homeless on a church patio.

A jury found the church guilty of violating city zoning codes in July 1997, but the pastor did not receive any jail time. Instead, the church was put on probation and ordered to meet municipal codes.

Drake began raising funds to build a permanent shelter to house the 50 to 60 homeless men and women who generally gather at the church at 6801 Western Ave. The pastor said he hopes to have the building complete by the end of the year.

In the meantime, fellow Christians in the county have come to his aid.

Robert McClure, director of Irvine-based Equibuild mortgage company, offered a building but found it was not suitable. Then his friend and fellow churchgoer, Edward Mouawad, who owns Custom Modular Services Corp. in Huntington Beach, offered a spare building.

"It's going really well," said Mouawad, who was working on the pieces Thursday.

City officials have said the temporary building should put most of the church's legal problems on hold. Drake met one court-ordered deadline to have grading done for the permanent building last month and is supposed to have the new shelter up by the end of the year.

The homeless residents are excited about having a new building with air-conditioning, and Drake said his only concern is how to pay a $12,000 bill for moving the building's parts.

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