Atlanta Successfully Raises $50 Million To Provide Housing For The City's Homeless
The city's homeless population is over 3,000.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city has raised its goal of $50 million to provide housing for the homeless.
The city partnered with the United Way of Greater Atlanta to raise the funds. About $25 million came from donations from private organizations, including Ameris Bank which donated the last $114,000 that allowed the city to reach its goal. The other half is from the Homeless Opportunity Bond sale that began under former Mayor Kasim Reed.
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There are 3,217 homeless people in the city of Atlanta. The money will provide 550 homes for the city’s homeless population.Bottoms said that one of the city’s most difficult challenges has been connecting the homeless population to the services available to them. The city will use a rapid rehousing model. The initiative will provide temporary housing which will allow them to focus on rebuilding rather than housing. The idea is that if someone is able to get in a home, they're less likely to become homeless again.
“It is a misperception that many people have — that homelessness is represented entirely by the people they see on the streets,” said Jack Hardin, co-chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission on Homelessness. “A far larger proportion of people experiencing homelessness have incomes and function at very high levels, but live on the margins of the economics of our society and any hardship can derail.”
The funding to curb homelessness in Atlanta was a priority for former Mayor Reed’s last year in office. The initiative was announced about two years ago when the city’s largest homeless shelter, Peachtree-Pine, revealed it was closing its doors. The 100,000 square foot building housed as many as 500 people but closed after a 10-year battle with various city establishments and accusations the shelter was the culprit behind a tuberculosis outbreak in the city. It was unanimously approved by the city council, which Bottoms was apart of before her mayorship.
“We now have the opportunity to end chronic homelessness in our city, and ensure that all women, men and children – regardless of circumstance – have the chance to live stable, meaningful lives and participate fully in their communities,” Reed said in a written statement at the time the plan was approved.