Having completed a year as interim executive director of One Roof Ecumenical Alliance Outreach, there are four areas of need I have observed in our community.
Some of these needs are ongoing, but there are possible solutions. It is my hope to again stimulate discussions so that these ongoing needs can be met.
1. The Welcome House needs to reopen. Currently there is no shelter in Coweta County for abused women and children to find a safe space. Non-profits, state agencies, and law enforcement see abused women and children weekly, if not daily. While I realize the Welcome House is an expensive operation, our community supported the shelter for many years. We need the Welcome House.
2. The old Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Hospital Road needs to be a mental health facility. I am aware this battle has been fought on several fronts. Currently Willowbrooke at Tanner in Carrollton has stopped Coweta from opening a mental health facility here. We have veterans, homeless and others in our community who could be helped greatly with this type of facility. As we continue to grow, some of our problems which end up with law enforcement could better be handled in a facility in Newnan, not Carrollton.
3. At the present time, Coweta County has no Department of Labor office. The office we had has been shuttered and responsibilities moved to Carrollton. Goodwill has a Career Center, but it is located at Thomas Crossroads. For many of the clients who are served by One Roof, Bridging the Gap, and The Salvation Army, they cannot afford transportation to Thomas Crossroads or Carrollton. These ministries do their best to help their clients find work, but a reopened Department of Labor, or at least a part-time office in Newnan, would be beneficial.
4. Coweta County needs a transitional/homeless shelter. Having worked with homeless families while in the school system and now with One Roof, I have witnessed that our county has a homeless problem. Mr. Bill Headley has proposed turning one of the old mills in the county into a transitional shelter. It is a multi-faceted plan which will provide shelter for homeless individuals and families while giving job training, budgeting classes, cooking classes and other basic educational needs to provide a foundation for those families to get back on their feet after their time-designated stay. Community support, both verbal and financial, is a necessity for fulfillment of this plan.
I can attest to the generous spirit of giving in our community. One needs only to look at Angel’s House and the Samaritan Clinic. The needs mentioned above are real, and the solutions attainable. Our Lord will bless us when we reach out to help the least of those in need in our community.
David Gregory, EdD.