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.
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 in addressing these social problems. In recognition of this role, ADID began its Social Impact work to further understand and promote solution-driven efforts that address key quality of life issues, including helping to launch innovative programs and investing in programs with proven results. The Social Impact Director is instrumental in supporting social service organizations working in Downtown to positively impact challenges related to poverty, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
In late 2019, ADID hired a new Social Impact Director, Tammy Hughes. With an overall goal of championing inclusive city building, the Social Impact Director focuses on leading and convening stakeholders to understand and promote solution-focused strategies that address key quality of life issues, including helping to launch innovative initiatives and investing in programs with proven results.
By actively engaging in social issues equally affecting our Downtown stakeholders and those in need, the Social Impact Director is instrumental in supporting social service organizations working in Downtown to strategically address challenges related to homelessness, poverty, equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are interested in becoming a part of social and civic initiatives impacting vulnerable populations, as well as ways to advance our vibrant and inclusive communities Downtown, please contact Tammy Hughes at email@example.com or (404) 522-5010.
It is important to note that homelessness does not describe the person. Homelessness describes the circumstance a person may be experiencing. Often, homelessness is not the only thing going on in a person’s life. Homelessness can many times be connected to mental illness, or an issue related to substance abuse. Behaviors of a person experiencing homelessness and in a crisis can be unpredictable and can change drastically without warning. One of the strategies we use to address homelessness that may co-occur with mental health challenges or substance addictions is by using outreach as an impactful way to de-escalate crisis situations using trauma-informed skills, training, and experience to identify therapeutic needs and treatment options.
2021 Focal Initiative: Addressing Homelessness Through Outreach
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 worked to resume uninterrupted service delivery to those experiencing homelessness on the streets of Downtown.
In 2021, the socially responsible stakeholders who make up our Downtown business community continue to be concerned about the observed perception of homelessness on our Downtown streets. As such, ADID maintains its investment in both people and property using an impactful approach to addressing homelessness through the innovative A.S.I.S.T. homeless outreach initiative.
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 and Community Outreach Workers trained in de-escalation and crisis management with a network of connections to treatment and care facilities. Call or text the A.S.I.S.T. line: 470-580-8288
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.
If you would like individualized guidance on finding a community partner that best fits with your organization’s beliefs and/or resources, please contactTammy Hughes, Social Impact Director, at (404) 522-5010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2021 Community Resource Card
We have created a Community Resource Card as a tool to assist persons in need of shelter and food resources. It can also be utilized as a helpful guide to contacts for safety, cleanliness, and other Downtown resources. The card is a tangible resource of homeless services, providers, and public safety information that can be downloaded or requested from us as needed. Please keep the Community Resource Card 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.