Pipes burst at Newnan nonprofit shelter

- Frigid weather and broken pipes were a bad combination for a Newnan nonprofit now scrambling to help others.

Bridging the Gap doesn't normally take overnight stays unless temperatures become life-threatening as they have been but of course that's when the pipes broke.

"It burst here, it burst here, it burst on the outside wall, so the toilets are nonfunctional. So, we can't have people stay in here," said Allison Wallace, the founder of Bridging the Gap.

She said Bridging the Gap had just gone into emergency mode, letting people stay overnight with a limited supply of beds when the pipes broke.

"On the cold days we've been opening at 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. and keeping people warm and fed and when the pipes burst it was like ‘ughhh! We just can't have them here anymore,’" said Wallace.

The overhead pipes in three areas broke Tuesday sending water everywhere. Wallace said many of the 15 to 20 people who were there for help ended up helping mop up the place when the pipes broke.

She said Bridging the Gap is now dipping into emergency funds to place people in hotels including a mother with four children who spoke to FOX 5 News at a Newnan hotel.

"I got turned away [from the shelters]. They said they was too full and you have to meet the criteria as far as domestic violence and I didn't meet the criteria," she said.

She said her husband abandoned the family financially and otherwise, forcing her to stay in the car. She said she was connected to Bridging the Gap with the help of the Newnan Police Department.

"I'm thankful and blessed to have them in my life because I didn't know where we were going to go this morning when I woke up Ok what's going to happen," she said.

A similar question facing Allison Wallace who is constantly connecting community resources to bridge the gap between people in need. Some get help with medical bills, others overcoming substance abuse, some with food, others with housing. It's a tall order made worse when Mother Nature turns frigid.

"It was cold it enough that it put us in a predicament. Everybody has been affected by this not just the homeless," said Wallace.

She said Bridging the Gap should be open within two to three days, with hopes cold weather doesn't create havoc down the road.

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