Atlanta City Council approves funding to fight homelessness

Atlanta’s city council on Monday approved funding for an ambitious plan to curb homelessness, announcing a $26 million bond commitment that will be added to $25 million already promised by the United Way.

The funding, a priority for the city in Mayor Kasim Reed’s last year in office, has been in the works for months — even before a recent announcement that the city planned to close the controversial Peachtree Pine homeless shelter downtown.

During his “state of the city” address in January, Reed disclosed that the United Way of Greater Atlanta had pledged to match city funding that will be used to renovate housing for the homeless and add more shelter space. City officials did not say where those would be located.

“I am proud to announce that with the unanimous approval of the Atlanta City Council, we will move forward with our $50 million commitment to make homelessness rare and brief in the City of Atlanta,” Reed said in a written statement.

“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,” he continued.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says homelessness should be rare and brief.

Around $7.6 million of the money from the Homeless Opportunity Bond will be used for the acquisition and renovation of shelters over the next three years, according to the city. The specific facilities have yet to be determined, but could include Jefferson Place, a closed shelter owned by Fulton County in downtown Atlanta that could be turned over to the city.

However, the biggest portion of the money — more than $16 million — will go to buying or renovating 500 units for housing…

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