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Posted: June 12, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Shelter up and running

Provides beds for up to 68 homeless residents

Brittany Thomas/

Making the beds: Homeless shelter director The Rev. Clara Lett, right, works with Sam Ramsey, owner of Ramsey's Furniture, to assemble beds at the facility on Tuesday.

The Covington homeless shelter at Turner Lake Circle is filled with residents and up and running.

The Rev. Clara Lett, the shelter’s director, said 47 people were living in shelter and the Porterdale homeless shelter location was empty.

However, Lett said the shelter is still in need of donations for some items, including nine box springs, towels, soaps, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and other paper products. Lett said she also still needs about $5,000 in monetary donations to cover day-to-day operating costs, including utilities and rent. Lett said the shelter is still formulating its budget and she’s still waiting on a final lease from the Covington Housing Authority, which owns the buildings.

Ramsey’s Furniture Owner Sam Ramsey helped out by donating 10 mattresses, $2,000 in total value, to the shelter on Tuesday. Lett had previously intended to buy the mattresses, but recent construction costs put her over budget, so Ramsey decided to donate the mattresses.

When Ramsey was mayor, he made bringing the shelter to Covington one of his final priorities and put a contract in place with the housing authority to purchase the land and buildings on Turner Lake Circle and to make the necessary repairs.

"I think it’s a great day for the city and the county to see it happen," Ramsey said. "Clara Lett and I prayed about the situation for a long time before it actually happened. As mayor I could see the great need for something like this. This is a dream come true for me and for Clara, and I think we’ll benefit for many years to come from having it."

In addition to Ramsey’s recent donation, last year the Super 8 Hotel on Alcovy Road donated 152 rooms of furniture to the shelter, including couches, tables, beds and desks, and La Quinta Inn and Suites hotel in Conyers donated mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows. Also a Boy Scout troop made all of the shelter’s 80 wooden bed frames.

Lett said much of the furniture is beyond the shelter’s needs and she is planning to have a furniture sale soon.

The center also is all set with food, because of the Eastridge Community Church food drive that was held a few months ago.

The center will sleep a maximum of 68 people and Lett expects the population of the shelter to increase over the next couple of months. The majority of residents are from Rockdale and Newton counties, with some coming from Walton, Jasper and Butts counties.

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