(The Center Square) — Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens plans to use $4 million to develop “quick-delivery housing” for homeless people in the city.
Dickens issued an executive order directing the city’s chief financial officer to fund a new “Rapid Housing” initiative. The city plans to repurpose shipping containers that Georgia Emergency Management Agency used as temporary hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are now being decommissioned.
Officials want to develop city property at 184 Forsyth St. near the Garnett MARTA station as “permanent mixed-income housing.”
“Each and every Atlantan deserves a place to call home and our Administration understands the sense of urgency to stabilize individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our city,” Dickens said in an announcement.
“Any one of us are just one bad day away from finding ourselves needing a hand-up to get back on our feet,” Dickens added. “Working with our partners and City Council, and using a little innovation, we will swiftly deploy these resources to give folks the support they need and deserve.”
The city indicated it plans to allocate the funds to Atlanta’s Continuum of Care — Partners for HOME — to execute the first phase and the structures. City officials said GEMA is donating many of the shipping containers.
A city spokesman did not confirm the source of the $4 million, and a GEMA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. The city council must ratify the plan at its next meeting.
There are more than 2,600 homeless people in Atlanta, and while some sources indicate the population may be decreasing, some reporting indicates a portion of the population may be moving to the city’s suburbs. While Georgia saw its homeless population decrease by 45.6% between 2007 and 2022, it has increased by 4.4% since 2020.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor