Homeless Coalition finds new home on Gordon Commercial Dr.

Published 8:00 am Thursday, August 4, 2022

The LaGrange – Troup County Homeless Coalition (LTCHC) has a new home on Gordon Commercial Dr. and is currently renovating. The new building will work as an assessment center to help those facing homelessness get back on their feet. Historically, the building used to be a Pathway Center for drug and alcohol addiction.

According to the Department of Community Affairs, there are approximately 100 people that are homeless in Troup County at any given time.

“You see them down by the old newspaper office, you see them in parking lots, under church archways, wherever they can be,” Mike Wilson, CEO of New Ventures said. “COVID-19 made that even more prevalent because they were not able to go to the library or restaurants and sit all day.”

According to Wilson, this has been a vision of the LTCHC for several years. The initiative of for the new Assessment Center will fall into three categories: 

  • Assessment: Matching the citizen to the correct agency
  • Emergency Housing: Temporary assistance for those individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Transitional Housing: Assistance for those with income but needing a hand in order to transition to permanent housing

Right now, if someone is walking down Lafayette Parkway, and a police officer pulls over to help and finds out they are homeless, the officer may end up paying for the person a meal or a place to stay. 

“A lot of times officers end up paying for hotel rooms out of their own pocket for homeless persons. The Homeless Coalition has been paying for a lot of those hotel rooms, but we needed something more permanent,” Wilson said.

With the new assessment center, if a police officer encounters someone who is homeless they could bring that person to the center. Then, the case could be assigned to a case worker, who will interview them find out what their needs are.

“If its domestic abuse, then they will call Harmony House. If its mental health, they will call the mental health side of things. How we help them will depend on their needs at that time,” Wilson said.

During emergency housing, those experiencing homelessness will be able to come and get a hot meal, a hot shower and a place to sleep. Unlike the Warming Center at New Ventures that opens for the colder months, this will be all year around.

According to Wilson, in transitional housing, the center will offer 24 beds for people up to six months.

While they are there, the center will ask them to pay $125 a week, with $25 going to food costs and utility and the remaining $100 going into a savings account for that person. During the six-month period, the person who is homeless will have the opportunity to save up $2400 for a first month deposit on a home and utilities. They will also participate in a budgeting class or counseling if needed through a faith-based organization.

“Our hope for the future is that we break the continuous chain of homelessness,” Wilson said.

At this time, the LTCHC is asking for local faith-based organizations to adopt and paint a room at the assessment center. Supplies will be provided. Once open, they will be looking for volunteer churches to sign up for a week to provide meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to the guests.

For more information on adopting a room to paint or providing meals for the guests please contact Mike Wilson at mwilson@newventures.org.