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Renovations on new warming center complete

LaGRANGE — Folks with no place to call home will soon have a warm place to lay their heads when temperatures begin to drop near the freezing mark.

The renovations inside the second New Ventures facility at 150 Lukken Industrial Drive are complete. The building will be ready to serve those in need as the new warming center starting Monday.

The warming center will open its doors when temperatures drop 40 degrees and below – and will only be open at night between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The facility can house up to 75 people – men, women and children. There is one room for men and a separate room for women and children to sleep in, plus bathrooms and showers for those wanting to freshen up, stated Dave Miller, CEO of New Ventures Inc.

The Lafayette Garden Inn at 1513 Lafayette Parkway has agreed to house families who want to stay together, stated Public Safety Director Lou Dekmar.

Transportation to and from the warming center will not be an issue, said LaGrange Police Sgt. Marshall McCoy.

“We will have pre-designated pick up points where we know we have a large amount of homeless currently staying in those areas,” McCoy explained. “Officers can also bring folks to the shelter in their patrol cars.”

” … We’ve partnered with public housing authorities to transport those in need,” Dekmar added. “We’ve also worked out an agreement with the Hogansville Police Department and the West Point Police Department to have ‘pick up points’ for folks needing a warm place to stay for the night.

“I think this is another example of the faith community, non-profit organizations showing their passion to work with the most vulnerable,” said Dekmar. “The LaGrange Police Department identified the need for an intervention and to make changes … This is not just an opportunity to shelter folks, but also allow the community resources to marry up with the homeless coalition task force and give folks access to those resources.”

Funding to renovate the New Ventures building was given by numerous folks in the public and private sector of the community.

The Callaway Foundation pledged $25,000, the LaGrange City Council approved $10,000 for the renovation work and Tod Tentler (Troup County manager) provided prison labor to complete the construction, Dekmar stated.

The New Ventures organization not only donated the building for the warming center, but also chipped in their own money to restore the facility, Dekmar added.

“This has been a great collaboration,” Dekmar said. “The police department has shepherded the task force, but the faith community has led the project. … We’ve heavily relied on them for these services… whenever we (LPD) see a social need and share it with faith community and other organizations, these folks always step up and help out.”

The warming center task force is in need of volunteers and supplies, such as blankets, sheets, toiletries and clothing.

Monetary donations should be made out to Troup Transformations and marked for the warming center.

If anyone would like to drop off supplies or volunteer to serve at the warming center, contact McCoy at 706-883-2603.

Wanda Walker with Troup Transformations (left), John Harrell with the Troup County Homeless Coalition (center) and John Howard discuss preparations on Wednesday for the official opening of the new warming center at 150 Lukken Industrial Drive.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_Center1.jpgWanda Walker with Troup Transformations (left), John Harrell with the Troup County Homeless Coalition (center) and John Howard discuss preparations on Wednesday for the official opening of the new warming center at 150 Lukken Industrial Drive.

Melanie Ruberti | Daily News

The renovation work at the New Ventures building off Lukken Industrial Drive was underway in August. The organization stepped up and offered a portion of their new facility to serve as a warming center for folks in Troup County.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_Center4.jpgThe renovation work at the New Ventures building off Lukken Industrial Drive was underway in August. The organization stepped up and offered a portion of their new facility to serve as a warming center for folks in Troup County.

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This is one of the rooms inside the new warming center that will house people during the night when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_Center2.jpgThis is one of the rooms inside the new warming center that will house people during the night when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

Melanie Ruberti | Daily News

The warming center will be housed in a portion of a new building recently purchased by New Ventures Inc. at 150 Lukken Industrial Drive.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_Center5.jpgThe warming center will be housed in a portion of a new building recently purchased by New Ventures Inc. at 150 Lukken Industrial Drive.

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Task force seeks volunteers, supplies

By Melanie Ruberti

melanie.ruberti@lagrangenews.com

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