AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The number of homeless in Augusta is expected to be increasing and city officials see a new shelter as something more than just a new roof over heads.
“A laundry room to wash their clothes maybe somewhere to store their luggage and stuff and a centralized location to receive mail,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams who co-chairs the homeless taskforce.
Augusta commissioners are voting to accept more than two million in federal funds for a homeless shelter.
Housing officials are planning to work with the Augusta Homeless Taskforce on what would serve the community best including having the city be in charge of operating it.
“I think with the different monies that we have, and I think the different support that we have I think eventually we’re going that way,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.
The vote to accept the funds for the shelter was 7 to 3 in favor the concern for those voting no was whether the city would be operating it.
“I think private entities should be running that and overseeing that we have enough of those in Augusta that would be more than willing to step up and do the job,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
“Private entities should be involved I think this is opening the door further down the road kind of a mess,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
Commissioners are in favor of more shelter space, even as some oppose any plans for the city to be operating it.
Though commissioners voting to accept the federal funds for the shelter, housing officials will bring back final plans on location, operating budget and whether the city should partner with a private agency to operate it.