The Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced that the city had reached its goal of funding a new $50 million program to provide housing for its homeless residents.
Atlanta has over 3,000 homeless residents in the city and one of the biggest challenges has been connecting those residents to the services available to them. The city feels the solution to that is a concept known as rapid rehousing. Rapid rehousing is a new invention in social policy that suggests that the faster people who are homeless can get in a home, the faster and better they can address the factors that led to their homelessness in the first place.
Half of the raised funds for the HomeFirst initiative come from the Homeless Opportunity Bond sale, that began under former mayor Kasim Reed, according to the AJC. The other half, about $25 million, came from private donations. And the final donation of $114,000 came from Ameris Bank. The city partnered with The United Way of Greater Atlanta to raise the funds.
Bottoms shared she was excited to finally raise the money for the program which was two years in the making. “This is one of the things I had the fortune of walking into when I was mayor,” she said. The city announced its plan for raising the money in 2017 after closing one of the city’s largest homeless shelters due to health and safety concerns.
While Atlanta has a fairly low report of homeless residents compared to other major cities, it is still a pressing issue. We hope that many more mayors and local governments will follow suit to help end homelessness in their cities.