For Atlanta’s business community, success has to be measured by more than the value of its buildings – it is also measured by the value it brings to everyone who lives, works, and visits Downtown. A livable, vibrant and economically robust Downtown must reflect our social values as well.
Atlanta is growing. More people move to the city and the region every day – in 2019, nearly 11,000 new residents made metro Atlanta their home, representing the largest growth in the decade. So many aspiring entertainers make their way into the burgeoning movie and music industry here that Atlanta is now the place of opportunity to attract and retain talent. Downtown Atlanta is home to sixteen Fortune 500 headquarters and the largest university in Georgia. Together, this makes Downtown the great social crossroads for the city, and perhaps the region – it is one of the few places left where the wealthy, the middle class and the poor stand shoulder to shoulder on the street.
The visible impact of economic disparity – panhandling, homelessness, untreated mental illness, substance abuse problems – speaks to the need of the business community to take an active role addressing these social problems. ADID recognizes this role.
In 2015, ADID hired its first Social Impact Director to focus on leading and convening stakeholders to understand and promote efforts that address key quality of life issues. ADID has been instrumental in supporting social service organizations working Downtown to reduce poverty.
In late 2019, ADID hired a new Director, Tammy Hughes. If you are interested in socially inclusive and innovative initiatives impacting vulnerable populations in Downtown, please contact Tammy Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 522-5010.
Social Impact Priorities
In September 2020, ADID launched a Social Impact Safety Team (A.S.I.S.T.) pilot program. This effort was deployed as a mobile response unit to build capacity in the homeless service system on a short-term basis while community providers and their outreach teams work to resume uninterrupted service delivery to our Downtown street homeless citizens. A.S.I.S.T. aims to provide a timely response to: non-criminal, non-emergency quality of life, business nuisance, public disturbance, substance use, or mental health concerns in Downtown Atlanta with Social Workers trained in de-escalation and crisis management with a network of connections to treatment and care facilities. For more information and to learn how to call for an A.S.I.S.T., click here.
Homelessness is a very real and serious issue that we face as a nation and as a local community. In 2019, with the creation of "Addressing Homelessness: A Community Guide," we launched a campaign intended to educate the public about the current state of homelessness in the city, the work being done by service providers and stakeholders, and tactics the general public can employ to become part of the solution to making homelessness brief, rare, and nonrecurring. Please keep this as a reference, and stay tuned for opportunities to learn, to participate in conversations, and to join the collective effort to support the most vulnerable among us with dignity and respect. Access the guide here.
Food donations in Downtown Atlanta that are not coupled with other types of services actually maintain homelessness, rather than solve it, because it disrupts the pipeline of social services that provide pathways and assistance out of homelessness.
We urge you to focus your efforts and resources towards holistic support. To do this, we suggest connecting with a community partner that is already embedded within the City’s homeless population—an organization that is hyper-local and is committed to addressing the complicated needs of underserved individuals over time. You can find a list of these organizations here.
Additionally, we have compiled a calendar of free meal locations covering each day of the week. You can find that information here.
If you would like individualized guidance on finding a community partner that best fits with your organization’s beliefs and/or resources, please contact Tammy Hughes, Social Impact Director, at (404) 522-5010 or email@example.com.
Give Change That Makes Sense
Asking for money is illegal anytime in Downtown Atlanta, and after dark throughout the City. The more you give your change to panhandlers, the more their lives don’t change.
Supporting local organizations that provide food, shelter, and support services is the best way to help. A donation of $100 can provide one week of transitional housing with intensive professional services for someone in need. Please connect with our partner agencies here.
How You Can Help
Partner for Hope
Rather than feeding or donating to individuals on Atlanta’s streets, please consider directing your generosity to one of the great organizations working tirelessly to improve the lives of people in need in our communities. Whether you wish to volunteer in a kitchen, provide hands-on support, or give food and other resources—there are plenty of opportunities to partner with a local organization that shares your mission.
We encourage you to invest in long-term solutions by giving your financial support and volunteering your time to help local service providers. Connect with them here:
Resources for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Start with a free and confidential phone call to United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta by dialing 2-1-1 or 404-614-1000 to get connected to community services (counseling, food, clothing and shelter).
Go to the Gateway 24/7 Homeless Services Center for the full range of services you need to get out of homelessness: 275 Pryor St. SW (404) 215-6600.