Impact of closing controversial shelter in Atlanta - CBS46 News

Impact of closing controversial shelter in Atlanta

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

CBS46 is looking at the impact of the closing of a controversial shelter and what's next for those who may have nowhere else to turn. 

The Peachtree-Pine Shelter is set to close in August. The woman who ran it for years says that instead of fighting what she believes is injustice, the shelter's board caved for money.

Anita Beaty resigned in January as the executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. She did it out of protest for a $10 million settlement that will take the shelter out of her hands.

So what about the story of corruption?

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the shelter's lawsuit against prominent members of the Atlanta business community had merit to go to trial. But instead of a fight, the city and the shelter settled against her wishes.

Beaty has stepped down and the shelter will close, but this begins a new chapter in the long-running controversy.

As the sun sets on the corner of Courtland and Pine, the sun will soon be setting on the shelter too. Sleeping on sidewalks around the trash-laden landscape are plenty of people who are homeless.

They didn't want to talk on camera, but their neighbors in nearby apartments and condos have plenty to say, like Maya Roffler and Eric Nunez, who wonder which sad scene they'll encounter when they leave their front doors.

"When you walk out, you smell a really bad odor, and I think they're actually using the street as a bathroom," says Nunez.

"It's reminding me a lot of skid row in L.A.," says Roffler.

Some homeless people camp out around the shuttered Atlantic Civic Center. Residents hopes were dashed when the city stopped plans with a developer to build homes, stores, restaurants and office space. But CBS46 is learning from the mayor's office that an announcement could come soon for the 19-acre property, possibly a public-private joint venture with the Atlanta Housing Authority. 

The shelter building will be sold.

The co-chair with the Regional Commission on Homelessness, Jack Hardin, is trying to raise $25 million with a city of Atlanta match for things like permanent and transitional housing and job training.

And he says it won't be a band-aide.

"We've already hired five caseworkers and trained them, and they are visiting the shelter and getting to know the population, and are beginning to develop ideas of what help the individuals need and what help they might quality for," says Hardin.

Hardin says in six years, his group has helped to cut homelessness by 40 percent. He believes with enough money and effort, he can get the number to 100 percent.

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