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Rep. Hank Johnson visits the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter
Hank Johnson visits The Garden of Gethsemane Homless Shelter
Congressman Hank Johnson visited The Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter on Friday, Aug. 18 during his week of HOPE, where he directly spoke to district officials and homeless constituents. - photo by Emily Rose Hamby

COVINGTON, Ga. – Congressman Hank Johnson visited The Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter in Covington on Friday, as a part of his week of HOPE – “Helping Other People Elevate” – initiative. After addressing district officials, Johnson spoke with several homeless constituents to hear their stories and how the shelter has impacted their lives.

Attendees of the event included officials from the Newton County Board of Commissioners, the Newton County Chamber of Commerce, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, board members of the shelter and executive director Clara Lett.

Johnson, who represents parts of DeKalb and Newton counties and all of Rockdale County, expressed his purpose of traveling to the Covington shelter to The Covington News. 

“I’m glad that I was able to come out and see how the issue of homelessness, arises or is being addressed in Newton County,” Johnson said. “It looks to me like the Rainbow Center is a haven for homeless people and they are referred homeless people from different entities and organizations. There’s such a big homeless problem here that they can’t serve everyone and so they have to turn people away. And in as prosperous a society as we live in, that is regrettable. As an elected official on the federal level, I’m going to do all that I can to help ensure that this organization and any other organizations that are fighting homelessness in Newton County have the resources that they need to do the job that they do.”

In addition to visiting The Garden of Gethsemane shelter, Johnson said his team has hosted six virtual events during his week of HOPE to inform citizens of available resources in their communities, from grant resources to veteran resources. 

Johnson’s week of outreach stems from his efforts to inform his constituents of how they can utilize the federal government and his office in order to “make life better on the ground.”

During his discussion with district officials, Johnson listened to the concerns of Lett and others regarding the shelter’s funding and overpopulation. 

“The government should be investing in people – America’s people. We must invest,” Johnson said. “We’ve all got to come together and start working to make our country a great place… and that’s just the bottom line.”