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Dozens of people are living under a tent in Downtown Brunswick after a homeless shelter closed down

Nov 24, 2023

Brianna Andrews, Reporter, weekend anchor

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – If you drive down G and Gordon Street in downtown Brunswick, you’ll find 15 to 20 people give or take living under this white tent.

It's become an unofficial shelter since the Well shutdown on April 22.

Curtis Thomas lives in the area.

He tries to help by donating clothes, but says it isn't enough and wishes the city of Brunswick could find a place indoors for people to stay.

"I really think that that's real sad. The city needs to find somewhere else for them to be right now, they are sleeping under a tent. They say the well is going to be open, but we don't know that," said Curtis Thomas.

The Well voluntarily shut down for 65 days after a series of complaints by the community and business owners downtown.

The complaints involve reports of violent attacks from homeless people in downtown Brunswick, ranging from armed robbery, a home invasion, and rape.

Wright Culpepper, the executive Director of the Well, plans to reopen on the 66th day.

"We’ve been working hard during this period of time on a number of things both internally and on our program and staff and volunteer expectations and so forth. We expect to be open up have a cool place for them to be, be able to wash their clothes, and be able to get the services they need," said Wright Culpepper.

Meantime, the Manna House, a volunteer-run soup kitchen just down the road from the tent is doing what they can by offering hot meals.

"There are several people down here that really take this heart. I wish Brunswick had made a decision to do something with them before they actually just shut the Well," said Amy Crandle, a volunteer.

We reached out to the City of Brunswick and directly to the mayor's office for comment but have not heard anything back.

The city did pass a new homeless shelter ordinance.

It restricts where shelters can be located, and they must go through a conditional use permit to open but it should not affect the Well.

Wright Culpepper says the shelter will be grandfathered-in which should allow them to bypass the city's new permit qualifications.

Culpepper says his long-term goal is to open a 24-hour shelter.

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