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With floodwaters gone, cleanup at homeless camp begins
Pastor seeks volunteers for Thursday morning effort beneath Queen City Bridge
In early November, heavy rains flooded the homeless camp beneath the Queen City Bridge in Gainesville.

Homeless camp volunteer cleanup

What: Cleanup at homeless camp devastated by flooding
When: 10 a.m. Thursday
Where: Homeless camp beneath Queen City Bridge where it intersects Industrial Boulevard in Gainesville. Interested volunteers are asked to meet at The Way ministry at 857 S. Bradford St. in Gainesville.
Contact: Volunteers can contact Jerry Deyton at 678-776-3098 or 

The homeless living beneath the Queen City Bridge in Gainesville are finally drying out after floodwaters swamped their encampment following recent heavy rains. Now the cleanup begins.

For the last few weeks standing water 6 inches deep or more sent the homeless here literally scrambling for higher ground.

This camp lies in a natural drainage course along railroad tracks and adjacent to a poultry plant.

The water, however, typically flows right through after a rain. But apparent clogs in nearby stormwater pipes backed things up hundreds of feet.

When Gainesville, Hall County and state Department of Transportation leaders failed to act, Jerry Deyton, a pastor with The Way ministry in Gainesville, stepped in.

“If you’re going to do something, just do it,” he said.

Deyton rented a water pump and between Saturday and Monday morning sucked out an estimated 80,000 gallons of putrid water that had become something of a public health issue.

Deyton said he plans to acquire a construction site Dumpster and on Thursday begin clearing the destroyed tents, couches, clothes and other trash left in the soggy, muddy wake of the flooding.

“Everything they had was mostly in these tents,” Deyton said. “They lost everything they had. When you don’t have much, it don’t take much to wipe you out.”

Deyton is asking for volunteers to help him with Thursday’s planned cleanup.

“I just need some people to get with me and help out,” he said. “We just need some hands to take some garbage bags.”