ELLAVILLE, Georgia (WRBL) – Residents of a homeless shelter in Ellaville had to pack up their boxes Friday and find a new place to call home.
Residents of the Central Georgia Hub of Hope had to say goodbye to their home on Thompson Street. In 2019, the Reverend James Cauley renovated the property to build rooms for the homeless and less fortunate in the area.
“Our mission here is to help feed, house, clothe and transport the homeless, the less fortunate and the disabled,” Director, Reverend James Cauley, said. “We take people in off the street who don’t have anything but the clothes on their back.”
Last month, Cauley filed an application to rezone the property from commercial to residential, and the issue was then brought before city council. In a special meeting with city council, some neighbors voiced concerns about their personal safety regarding residents of the shelter. According to Cauley, none of the residents have had run-ins with the law while living at the Hub of Hope.
In a letter, the city denied the rezoning application for reasons related to the property itself.
“It didn’t meet state building and fire codes from the state law, which we go by state law on that type of thing,” Leah Clark, Mayor of Ellaville said. “Changes and renovations made to the building were not handled in the appropriate manner without authority with no building permits and that goes against our code of ordinances.
For some residents, the Reverend and his wife are the closest thing they have to a family.
“I call them mom and daddy,” one resident, Charity Miller. “Cuz I ain’t got one. They’re all I got.”
Mayor Clark says Cauley has to make sure the building meets code before they discuss the rezoning issue once more. Though residents were evicted today, Cauley says he is determined to get people back home to the Hub of Hope.
He is working to get the building up to state code and has reached out to state senators, representatives and community members for help with funding. For now, many of the displaced Hub of Hope residents will stay at Cauley’s women’s shelter–just three miles away.