Ellaville homeless shelter working to meet state code, asking community for help


ELLAVILLE, Ga. (WRBL) – In May, residents of the Central Georgia Hub of Hope had to pack up their boxes and find a new place to call home. The City of Ellaville cited code violations and sent a code inspector one and a half months later to assess the property. 

The City of Ellaville says the Central Georgia Hub of Hope’s building on Thompson Street did not meet state building and fire codes. They also said neighbors voiced concerns about their personal safety regarding residents of the shelter. On Monday, the Fire Chief for Sumter County Fire Department came out to the building to do a courtesy inspection.

“We had a request from the City of Ellaville to come out and give them a hand doing a walk-through of this building… see if we had any infractions or things that needed attention,” Jerry Harmon, Fire Chief for the Sumter County Fire Department, said. 

Following the inspection, Harmon said the findings were pretty typical for a building that hasn’t been inspected in many years: exposed cords, a missing exit sign and failure to meet some American Disabilities Act guidelines. Reverend James Cauley renovated the property back in 2019 to build rooms for the homeless and less fortunate in the area. He, along with his wife, cares for the residents beyond giving them a place to call home. 

“We cater to our residents,” Reverend Cauley said. “We take them shopping, we take them to get groceries, we take them to the doctor, we take them to get their prescriptions filled…  whatever they need, we try to fulfill their need and, if we don’t, we try to find the people and services that can help fulfill their needs so they can have a good clean decent life.”

In the next few days, Cauley will have a list of exactly what changes need to be made on his shelter, and he is reaching out to the community and government officials for financial help to make the necessary improvements. He has additionally hired an attorney to navigate the process of meeting city ordinances. 

In May, Cauley let many of his displaced residents stay at his women’s shelter temporarily. Now, residents are anticipating the day they can return to their Hub of Hope. 

“They want to come back,” Cauley said. “They’re asking ‘When are we going to get this straightened out?’ and when they can come home. When can they come home?”

Cash donations for the Central Georgia Hub of Hope can be deposited in the Peoples Bank or mailed to: P.O. Box 94, Ellaville, GA 31806

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