Newton County

Strong storms rip apart homeless shelter in Covington

COVINGTON, Ga. — An EF-1 tornado heavily damaged a homeless shelter in Covington on Saturday.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Channel 2′s Michael Seiden arrived at the Rainbow Community Center along Turner Lake Circle SW, where he found holes in the roof of the shelter and extensive damage to the building.

Officials with the shelter told Seiden that there were about 20 men inside the building eating dinner and watching TV when the tornado touched down.

“They were so shook up. They just didn’t know what to say. They just said, ‘it hit so fast,’” said Clara Lett, executive director of the Rainbow Community Center.


The shelter reported two people suffered minor injuries.

Officials said the building is no longer safe and that they will be back out at the shelter in the morning during daylight hours to assess the extent of the damage.

“Everything was taken care of as needed and everybody was safe and secure at the end of the day,” said Jody Nolan, director of Newton County Emergency Management.

Lett said they now need a new place to house the people who use the shelter.

“We will need a building, a place for people to come home until this place gets rebuilt,” Lett said.

Seiden said there are downed trees throughout the area, and there is no power in the vicinity of the shelter.

The men who were being housed inside the shelter have been taken to an area gymnasium for the night.

Stay with and tune into WSB Tonight following the game for the latest on the damage left by the storms.