ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany minister is getting homeless people off the streets and helping them get back on their feet.
Minister Thomas Benton lets more than a dozen homeless people stay in his rental homes. He's encouraging other churches and organizations to do the same.
Minister Thomas Benton says he's answered his calling to provide a safe haven for the homeless for the past seven years.
"The Lord spoke to me and told me to help get the peoples off the street," said Minister Thomas Benton.
Benton owns five rental homes along West Mercer Avenue and South Davis Street bringing the homeless in out of the cold.
"I took a man and a wife and five children into my home they were staying at the Salvation Army and got put out," said Benton.
Benton says the homeless find him, like Marvin Butler who stayed with Benton six years ago for six months.
"I came to him," said Marvin Butler. "I was homeless, I was on drugs and alcohol."
Benton helped Butler into a rehabilitation center. He's been sober for five years, has his own home and landscaping business.
"Since then God gave me a wife, and he gave me a car," said Butler. "He gave me a purpose to want to live again because I had gave up."
Benton has been helping Tamedra Lawrence and her two-year-old daughter Makiyah for almost a week.
"I've just been praying about it that somebody can help me and my child because I'm a single mom," said Tamedra Lawrence.
She says it's been a life changing experience.
"He's helping me try to find an income so it'll be helpful for me and her," said Lawrence.
"When I take a person in, I help them to find an income," said Benton.
He's now encouraging others to make use of vacant homes around the community.
"Renovate them, take in homeless people," said Benton. "Not just take them in and leave them there. Get a couple of people to counsel them and help them find their way."
Benton is taking donations to continue renovating his rental homes. He also wants other organizations to partner with him on his mission. You can mail donations to 614 West Mercer Avenue Albany, Georgia or contact Thomas Benton at 229-449-0006.
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