Peachtree-Pine Shelter Says It’s Complying With TB Measures

An attorney for the Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter says it’s fully in compliance with requirements from Fulton County to prevent tuberculosis outbreaks.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said during a luncheon Tuesday he wanted to shutter the shelter over health concerns. He cited conversations and data he received from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the shelter was “one of the leading sites for tuberculosis in the nation.”

After a recent tuberculosis outbreak, Peachtree-Pine and three other shelters signed an agreement with Fulton County to implement the CDC’s guidelines to control the spread of TB. The centers would be subject to regular inspections, both announced and unannounced. 

A July report from county health inspectors forwarded from the attorney for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which operates Peachtree-Pine, shows the shelter received a perfect score during an inspection.

“Every single person who comes in is tested for TB. Where else would people be getting those tests?” says attorney Steven Hall.

Hall disputes the mayor’s claim that the shelter is a top site TB in the nation, and says the higher rates at the shelter are the result of accepting everyone who shows up at its doors, regardless of circumstance.

“I think what this report says certainly if you’re following all the guidelines and doing the best possible job – all best practices, as it would indicate by this report – I think you’ve got to really carefully look and see if this is really as simple as it’s been presented by the mayor,” Hall says.

Reed says the shelter’s compliance should matter little now because it has been a health concern for years.

“Sure it matters, but the bottom line is that that shelter has been in that condition for 20 years,” Reed said. “So improving from what? From being a national crisis?”

Reed says he hopes to work with the shelter operators as he moves forward with his plans.