Larry Love, the owner of the old Love and Charity Mission building, has a mess on his hands with a building he can’t occupy or fix. But God most certainly has a plan, he says.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin denied Love’s third request last month that he isn’t responsible for paying a $9,000 We Energies bill his grandmother Louise Hunter amassed when she ran the homeless shelter at 1031 Douglas Avenue. Hunter retired and shut down the shelter last year after the utility shut off the electricity. Love, who started Touched By An Angel Network (TBAAN), took over as the new owner of the building with intention of starting a youth-centered facility. And because TBAAN acquired the property, Love acquired the bill.
But Love claims the two entities are separate and don’t have anything to do with each other. Still, the PSC sided with We Energies saying that Hunter is “still operating a charity at the service address and will continue to do so after services are restored.”
“The customer of record (Hunter) was found at the property several times around and after the denial of TBAAN’s application,” according to a letter by the PSC.
Hunter Not Returning To Building
No one is living in the building now because the electricity was turned off. Love has since been cleaning it out. The roof leaks. The basement is full of water because a pipe burst. And the plumbing and electrical service needs upgraded. Love spoke to officials with We Energies, but he wasn’t able to convince them that Hunter isn’t involved in TBAAN.
“They really feel like when the lights go back on she’s going to be back in that building… and that’s just not what it is,” he said.
As the new organization took over, Hunter was hesitant to leave the Love and Charity building and Love said that– because she is his grandmother — needed to be on her own terms.
“I just couldn’t say… ‘Hey, you have to leave.’ I had to wait until she was comfortable enough to walk out the door,” he said.
“The only thing connecting them is blood,” said Jeff Grant, a board member of TBAAN.
But Love’s troubles don’t stop with We Energies. The City of Racine Water Department says Love owes $10,000 in unpaid water bills from Love and Charity.
One of the issues Love is also dealing with is that people are still sending donations to Love and Charity. But those dollars aren’t going towards paying the We Energies bill. People need to make their donations directly to We Energies in care of Love and Charity for it to be applied to the remaining balance, which is at about $9,000.
“These donations need to go directly to the water company and directly to We Energies,” Love said.
Focus On The Mission, Not Just The Bill
Despite the building issues, Love is continuing with his mission to help youth in the community. He will be donating toys and a pizza party from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1134 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
“This is important to do because we may have the electric shut off to this building, but it doesn’t turn off our heart… that people need love and that’s what TBAAN does is show people that we care about them,” Love said. “We’re not going to let this bill stop us. We’re going to do whatever we can to try to get this resolved. And in the meantime we’re going to use different locations and we’re going to do that this time.”
Love has received two offers from people looking to buy the building, but he’s not looking to sell. They still want to resolve the issue and see if they can’t fix the building.
“We have an idea in the works right now that either way, we’re going to help Love and Charity help pay this bill off,” Grant said. “So we’re in the process of putting together a charity/benefit concert to help raise funds to pay that bill off.”
The whole thing has been frustrating, but Love trusts that God has a plan.
“He showed me this vision years ago… and I have been through so much in my life that has led me to this point,” Love said. “I know that I am going to get over this hump. This is just a test of my faith right now.”
Love is also asking the community for help with fixing the building from the construction community. If interested, please contact Love at (844) 468-2226.