The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, alongside its community partners, is committed to working toward long-term, sustainable solutions for park users who are underserved and/or experiencing homelessness.
For those interested in conducting homeless outreach in Woodruff Park and Downtown Atlanta:
As you probably know, we have a high concentration of underserved individuals and individuals experiencing homelessness in the area, and there is much that needs to be done to connect this community with valuable resources. In 2021, ADID conducted a survey of those experiencing homelessness on the streets of Downtown.
Homelessness is an extremely complicated issue that calls for a nuanced approach to address its root causes. In most cases, the conditions under which people experience homelessness are the result of a constellation of social ills, such as mental and physical health problems, drug and/or alcohol addiction, poverty, systemic racism, abuse, and complications with the criminal justice system. Addressing just one of these problems is difficult enough, but when they start to pile up it takes a concerted effort over several months—and even years—to begin to make a meaningful impact.
Though they may not be instantly gratifying, long-term solutions are essential, and quick fixes can do more harm than good. For example, dropping off food in the Park is very much a short-term solution; some groups do this regularly, but Park staff see very little improvement from this approach. 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 on ADID's Community Resource Card. Your willingness to serve members of this community is inspiring and desperately needed in order to achieve the desired result of a safe, equitable, and thriving city.
If you are interested in socially inclusive and innovative initiatives impacting vulnerable populations, and the vibrancy of the communities Downtown, please contact Tammy Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 522-5010.
Thank you again for your desire to help make Atlanta a better place and improve the lives of its most needy and suffering. With your assistance, we have a much better chance of achieving our goals and making Atlanta a better place for all.