LaFayette council discusses shelter

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

LaFAYETTE — A LaFayette City Councilwoman wants to make sure everybody is warm during the winter season.

LaFayette City Councilwoman Tammie Williams suggested Monday night that the LaFayette City Council look into finding a building for individuals to enter during the cold season when there is nowhere else to go.

“I don’t know if we have a lot of homeless people here, but I’m sure we do,” Williams said during Monday’s council meeting. “If we do have somebody that is homeless, where are they supposed to go?”

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LaFayette Mayor Barry Moody said he’s not aware of any designated places within the city where people can go during inclement weather. 

City Attorney Joseph Tucker said the biggest problem with opening some sort of shelter is keeping it staffed.

Williams said it’s hard to know if somebody is homeless because most times they’re going to be too prideful to admit it.

“When we go to bed at night, we are warm, but everybody isn’t warm and comfortable when sleeping,” she said. “If there is anything we can do at night to keep somebody from freezing to death, I certainly want to be a part of keeping them alive.”

She said this is something that needs to get done, and she was willing to oversee the development of the idea. She said nobody deserves to be out in the cold.

“We talk about a lot of stuff here, but we don’t do a whole lot but talk,” Williams said. “We don’t do a whole lot of action. I really want to see us do something.”

Councilman Michael Ellis suggested looking into if the city can partner with the Salvation Army to see what could be done next.

Moody said some local agencies and churches will help people who are struggling to find meals or for a short-term stay, but doesn’t know of anything on a more permanent basis.  However, he said there are some things the city has to consider when providing such services.

“The biggest thing is the liability,” Moody said. “Just from the fact that if more than one person stays there and something happens, and we provided it.”

He said the city should investigate what more can be done and learn everything it can about what its options are.