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Homeless shelter directors face deadline to vacate | News

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Homeless shelter directors face deadline to vacate

ATLANTA -- Leaders of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless are appealing a court order to vacate the city's largest homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine Streets by noon on Wednesday.

"This is definitely a worst case scenario for us," said Carl Hartrampf, a member of the Task Force Board of Directors. "We're leaving the leadership the men have established in place and the volunteers in place. The systems will continue to run as they've been setup."

Task Force leaders gave 11Alive News a tour of the shelter's rooftop garden, bike shop and art studio on Sunday.

"It's not just a warehouse," said Executive Director Anita Beaty. "It's a model program. We're very concerned about the ongoing need and the fact that this facility and the Task Force have met that need for years when no one else would."

On Saturday night, when temperatures dipped into the teens, more than 600 men stayed at the shelter.

The task force is in a court battle over who owns the building.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall has ordered the directors out by Wednesday and put the United Way in charge instead, with orders to close the shelter in six months.

The court criticized the Task Force for allowing members of Occupy Atlanta to live at the shelter, calling it a political statement.

Members of the movement argue some of them are homeless, and they're working to help the other men.

"If this is what you would define as radical, so be it," said Occupy Atlanta member Jonah Bautista. "We're changing the system from the inside out, for the better."

Attorneys for the Task Force appealed the order to vacate to the Georgia Court of Appeals late Friday.



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