Process begins in closure of Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter - CBS46 News

Process begins in closure of Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Atlanta's largest homeless shelter begins the process of closing down Monday, and a candidate running for the mayor of the city is getting personally involved.

John Eaves spent the night Sunday at the homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets in downtown Atlanta. As he checked in, he told CBS46 he wanted to hear the stories of some of the homeless people who are about to be displaced..

Eaves was the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners until recently, when he resigned to focus full-time on his candidacy for mayor of Atlanta.

The closing of the shelter comes after years of controversy and legal battles over the shelter. Eventually, all parties involved came to an agreement to close the shelter, which has been in operation for two decades. On Monday, the ownership of the property transfers to the non-profit Central Atlanta Progress. 

Eaves said spending the night at the shelter wasn't a publicity stunt.

"If anything, I will certainly understand," said Eaves. "I will be able to speak from the first person, albeit on a temporary basis, experienced how homeless people live on a given night, and I will be more effective in terms of advocating for a resolution for those who are homeless."

When Eaves emerged hours later, he said he got very little sleep but that he learned a lot.

"I will say the stigma of the homeless is that. It's a stigma. There are some men in there who are working. They're working hard. There are some men who are fathers of children," Eaves said. "I'm surprised by the number of people who are really trying to get on their feet again."

He said he learned many of the shelter's residents don't realize the shelter is closing. He says he's more determined than ever to make sure there are programs in place to help people transition out of homelessness.

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