web1_WEB1129WarmingShelter1

LaGrange warming center in works

Old school may keep homeless warm in winter

By Melanie Ruberti

mruberti@civitasmedia.com

Beds in a warming center inside the old LaGrange fire station at the corner of Main and Byron Hurst Streets earlier this year provided a place for homeless folks to seek shelter from the cold. Since the station has been dismantled, the Emmaus Shelter and the Troup County Homeless Coalition are seeking to setup a new shelter at the old Dawson Street school building.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_WEB1129WarmingShelter1.jpgBeds in a warming center inside the old LaGrange fire station at the corner of Main and Byron Hurst Streets earlier this year provided a place for homeless folks to seek shelter from the cold. Since the station has been dismantled, the Emmaus Shelter and the Troup County Homeless Coalition are seeking to setup a new shelter at the old Dawson Street school building. File

LaGRANGE — Christmas may come early this year for folks with the Troup County Homeless Coalition and the Emmaus Shelter.

The two organizations are one step closer to finalizing a deal with the city of LaGrange that would allow them to turn the old Dawson Street school into a warming center this winter.

The school is located at 200 N. Dawson St., between Hill and Greenville streets.

Jessica David, executive director of the Emmaus Shelter, said she was emailed a letter of intent from the city’s Department of Community Development that would allow them to use part of the school during a cold weather emergency.

David said the letter also came with a list of stipulations as to how the building could be used. People would only be able to use it when the temperature falls below 40 degrees at night, must vacate by 9 a.m. and cannot cook food inside.

In January, the Emmaus Shelter, Troup County Homeless Coalition and City of LaGrange, with the help of the Callaway Foundation, opened a warming center inside the old fire station at Main and Byron Hurst streets.

According to David, the center was the only facility of its kind open from Columbus to Atlanta.

The old fire station was not an option this time; the building was torn down over the summer to make way for the health department.

David said the fire marshal will need to inspect the Dawson Street facility before official approval is given for Emmaus and TCHC to use the building as a warming center.

In more recent years, the old Dawson Street Elementary School was home to the Alpha Multipurpose Center. That agency relocated to former Cannon Street Elementary school earlier this year.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.