Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta's mayor made an announcement this week that the city had reached its goal of raising $50 million for a program that will provide housing for the city's homeless residents. Atlanta has a reasonably low rate of homeless people compared to other large cities in the United States. Regardless of this, Bottoms wants to lessen the amount of people sleeping and eating on the streets.
With over 3,000 homeless residents in the city, the largest problem the city has been facing is connecting those who need services and the places that offer them. To combat the issue, Atlanta has created a rapid rehousing program. Rapid rehousing is a social policy that believes he 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.
The $50 million was raised in a few ways. Half of the monies came from selling bonds from the Home Opportunity bond fund, which began under previous mayor, Kasim Reed. Private donations supplied the other half of the funds. Ameris Bank also swooped in with a donation of $114,000. Atlanta teamed with The United Way of Greater Atlanta for the fundraiser. The fundraiser began in 2017 after the city closed down one of Atlanta's largest shelters amid health and safety issues.
Bottoms said of finally raising enough money for the HomesFirst initiative, “This is one of the things I had the fortune of walking into when I was mayor.” 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.
Atlanta set a precedent with this move, hopefully it will spark a chain reaction for more cities across the nation to put an end to homelessness.