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Plans for homeless shelter may change
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Family Unit Recovery Center

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The grand opening of a men’s shelter in Toccoa and a 21-mobile home unit family shelter was scheduled for today in Gainesville, but Family Unit Recovery Center Founder and CEO Sonya Rose now has a different idea.

Instead, she’s seeking help from local governments to transform the two locations into shelters for homeless children.

While the alternative plan is not yet set in stone, Rose said the new nonprofit agency based in Duluth aims to unite families and help them stay together.

"We’re definitely in the preliminary stages," Rose said. "We’re in the decision stages of determining who we want to help."

She said the center’s leased property on Floyd Road in Gainesville and its Toccoa building could be used to house children up to age 18 who are left without a roof over their heads. Although the Family Unit Recovery Center would assist all homeless children, she said a special emphasis would be placed on helping the offspring of immigrants who later would be reunited with their families in their native countries.

Rose said the shelters would serve Hall and surrounding counties. She said there’s a need in the area for a shelter housing homeless children.

"There’s a huge need for that," she said. "Usually it’s alien children, and not just Hispanics. A lot of times it’s Hondurans and Guatemalans, but Asian children, too."

Rose said she wants to help children who have fallen through the cracks of the legal system to prevent them from engaging in lives of crime and gang violence.

She said she hopes to work with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, local school systems and the Division of Family and Children Services to get the shelters up and running.

Rose said the shelters will need counselors, nurses and staff to find children’s families and deliver them to a safe reunion with loved ones.

"There will be a lot of employment involved with this and hopefully we’ll clean up the streets a little bit, as well," she said.