By Andy Sheehan

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since the 1950s, the homeless and the down and out have found a meal and bed inside the welcoming confines of the Light of Light Mission on the city’s North Side.

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But the shelter’s low ceilings and cramped quarters have never been optimal.

“It’s not that we want to add more clients and guests, but we just need more space to work and be able to serve people with dignity,” said Director Craig Sweiger

So, Light of Life is moving.

It’s now deep into the $10 million renovation of the former Ridge Avenue School across West Park, turning it into a more expansive shelter and recovery program for men, women and children who’ve fallen on hard times.

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But in agreement with the neighborhood to spread out its services across the North Side, Light of Life is also planning to build an entirely new building on a vacant lot off River Avenue and the Allegheny River Trail.

The city’s zoning board approved the construction of the building, but nearby building owners filed an appeal in Common Pleas Court, and even a judge this week upheld the decision, that doesn’t mean the matter’s settled.

The attorney for one building says his client is weighing the options, and Sweiger fully expects the objectors will file another appeal.

“I don’t blame them. It’s just a process we have to go through,” he said.

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But while the fight over the new building may drag on, the renovation of the Ridge Avenue School is in full swing, and it will likely open in the coming year bringing North Avenue mission’s tenure to end.