By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL | Jun. 05, 2019 – 10:46 PM
A small shelter for homeless women and children may soon open in Newnan.
One Roof Outreach’s “The Lodge” was approved Tuesday by the Newnan Board of Zoning Appeals, and One Roof Director Frankie Hardin hopes to open it by August.
But first, One Roof has to raise funds to get The Lodge open.
“I want to have $40,000 either in my hand or promised, with a secure commitment, before we commit to the renovations,” Hardin said after Tuesday’s vote.
The Lodge will be located in a building owned by the Newnan Housing Authority and will house up to eight people at any one time. The building is on West Washington Street next to a Head Start facility.
The project received a “special exception” permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals that is good for one year. At the end of the year, it will automatically renew, if the facility’s operation is satisfactory and doesn’t run afoul of city regulations, or prove injurious to the public safety or welfare of city residents, said City Planner Chris Cole. One Roof will be required to submit reports to city staff for the one-year review, Cole said.
A “house mother” – possibly selected from among the homeless population – will live at the facility and have two private rooms, and the other residents will be in an open dormitory with four sets of bunk beds.
It’s not going to be spacious, gracious living, according to Hardin.
“I’m hoping that that will subtlety motivate people to think – I don’t want to be here for the rest of my life, I don’t want to settle in,” she said. “I want to use it as a waystation to something better. That’s the whole idea.”
The city put some conditions on the approval, including no men and no children over 14.
Hardin sees women – many with young children – who are homeless multiple times a week. Sometimes One Roof can put them up in a motel for a week or two. But many times there is no money for that.
Some of the families are sleeping in cars or in tents. Others are holed up in motels or staying with family or friends.
Only 30 percent of people who are homeless are considered “chronically homeless,” Hardin said. The other 70 percent have become homeless because of circumstances including unemployment, generational poverty and the lack of places they can afford to rent.
“In Coweta, what we really see so much is the real lack of affordable housing,” Hardin said.
One Roof can put people in hotels, but it’s only a temporary fix. The organization spent $90,000 on hotels last year.
“There’s no oversight, no accountability, no ability to affect real change,” Hardin said.
To help residents move toward sustainability and self-sufficiency, One Roof has a caseworker and a volunteer psychotherapist. There are hopes to work with other organizations on services for the residents.
Hardin has applied for federal grants for hotel/motel vouchers and funding for The Lodge. She doesn’t expect to get the grant this year, so funding will have to come from donors.
The project has been in the planning stages for several months, but Hardin said she didn’t want to start fundraising until they got the OK from the city.
“I’m at the point where I’m going to write Tyler Perry or Alan Jackson a letter,” Hardin said. “I’m going to talk to the churches.”
If you’d like to donate to The Lodge, contact One Roof by emailing email@example.com, visit www.oneroofoutreach.org, or call 770-683-7705.
Donations can be mailed to One Roof Outreach, 255 Temple Ave., Newnan, GA 30263. Checks should be made out to One Roof with “The Lodge” in the memo line.