– By TAYLOR ROBINS, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subfreezing temperatures bought Bridging the Gap a new year’s hardship.
The water pipes in the building burst Tuesday morning, just as the ministry was preparing to provide shelter during cold weather.
“Right now we’re having to shut down operations until we get this fixed,” said founder Alison Wallace. “We’re doing everything we can. We’re still offering food and stuff. People just can’t come in because we don’t have any bathrooms.”
With repairs predicted to be finished Wednesday afternoon, Bridging the Gap will put people in need in hotel rooms, as funding allows, until the building is up and running again.
“(The pipes) froze,” said Wallace. “We had everything turned off. That’s the thing. We had all the fans in there going so they wouldn’t burst. As soon as we turned the taps on for someone to shower, they burst.
“When the pipes burst, two of the clients came and they were doing all the mopping and getting all the water up,” said Wallace.”They came to my rescue. It just made me burst into tears.”
Regardless of whether the pipes are fixed, the shelter will be passing out blankets and hand-warmers during the day.
On a regular wintry day, Bridging the Gap works with the Newnan Police Department to help get people off of the freezing streets.
The only way to receive services is to go to the Newnan Police Department to pick up a voucher. A background check will also be done for each individual.
The process at the police department takes approximately 20 minutes.
“We’re not turning anyone away,” said Wallace. “We just want to be aware of who is coming into the building.”
After checking in at the police department, a person can head to the shelter. There is an on-duty security officer on the property at all times.
People in need will receive a place to stay for below-freezing weather and a hot meal. Bridging the Gap also provides hot meals three days a week, showers on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a place for people to do laundry.
For people who do not wish to go through the police department, a box of clothing is provided outside of the Bridging the Gap building.
Bridging the Gap is only an emergency shelter for when temperature drop below freezing. BTG leaders are looking to find a location for year-round relief for Coweta County.