UPDATE: Jefferson Place shelter to reopen, take in Peachtree-Pine men

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UPDATE: Jefferson Place shelter to reopen, take in Peachtree-Pine men

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The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless will continue to advocate for those who fall through the cracks, despite settling a lawsuit that will close Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

UPDATE: Fulton County is planning to reopen its Jefferson Place shelter to help offer homeless men needing a roof over their heads now that Peachtree-Pine — the city’s biggest shelter — is being shuttered.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves said the facility made room for as many as 150 people before it was closed in 2014.

The Peachtree Pine homeless shelter was purchased by developers and will close August 28.

“The only way this thing really works is if the people at Peachtree and Pine have somewhere to go,” said Eaves, who is running to replace Kasim Reed as Atlanta’s next mayor. “Whenever the Peachtree and Pine facility closes, we will be ready.”

Peachtree-Pine is expected to close at the end of August and officials say the men is serves — as many as 500 — will be transferred to other shelters throughout the city of Atlanta over the next two months.

Eaves said he and Reed have been talking about shutting down Peachtree-Pine for more than two years. Eaves said he will use Springdale Place, a shelter that provides education and life skills program for homeless women and children, as a model for a reopened Jefferson Place, which is at the corner of Jefferson Place at Martin Luther King Boulevard.

ORIGINAL STORY:Two days after agreeing to a settlement that will close the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless said Friday it will continue its efforts to advocate and support those who fall through the cracks.

“The settlement to which the Task Force has agreed will provide substantial financial resources to continue our two-fold mission of providing direct homeless services and advocating for policies and programs that attack the underlying causes of homelessness,” Task Force Chairman Chuck Steffen said in a statement. “These are the lack of affordable housing, the shortage of living-wage jobs, and the history of racism that blocks access to both housing and jobs.

“The Board of Directors will continue its efforts to end homelessness as part of the larger struggle for a just and inclusive Atlanta,” Steffen wrote.

A man reads a book, surrounded by hundreds of other people spending the day in the overflow room at the homeless shelter on Pine Street near the intersection with Peachtree Street in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / AJC file photo / December 2011) Jason Getz

The organization on Wednesday settled an ongoing lawsuit that sought to close the doors of the shelter, which has for years given refuge to as many as 500 men at a time who had nowhere else to go. The settlement, which will turn the building over to Central Atlanta Progress — a group that promotes business growth downtown — was reportedly for $9.7 million.

The shelter has run afoul of business organizations and community leaders who complained that the men hung outside its premises during the daytime on some of Atlanta’s most prominent streets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also investigated three different outbreaks of tuberculosis in the massive building over the years and the city threatened to turn off the shelter’s water for non-payment of bills totaling around $600,000.

“While Peachtree & Pine will be closing, the need is still great,” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell said in a statement. “It is my hope that there will be an alternative plan in place for those who use their services. Rapid rehousing and access to meaningful restorative services is a must for all of our homeless citizens who are in need.”

Stay tuned for updates.

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