The State of Homelessness in Metro Atlanta
Thursday, March 9, 2023, 9:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church | 435 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Despite published counts showing a decrease in homelessness populations from 2020 to 2022, recent increases in encampments around the region are a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the unsheltered homeless and those working to implement solutions. At issue, a lack of development of congregate or scattered site single-family facilities has resulted in too few Permanently Supportive Housing units. Among the existing housing stock, too few property owners/managers are willing to take vouchers that house people facing homelessness. Others point to additional resources needed to provide extensive mental health and drug addictions, especially in the chronically unsheltered.
Although there’s a general consensus that homelessness rates are slowly being reduced, the Georgia legislature continues to examine and propose bills to address the issue. The Georgia Senate’s Study Committee on Unsheltered Homelessness held three meetings between August and November 2022. It published its final report and recommendations, some of which have been incorporated in Senate Bill 62.
The Study Committee heard from local and State advocates and service providers. They also heard from Texas-based Ciceros Action, who pushed a 2022 Senate bill “that would ban local governments from using federal dollars to build permanent homeless shelters and financially penalize cities that have a higher-than-average homeless population. It would also make it a misdemeanor to take shelter on state property.”
Last year, critics made it clear that the proposed bill would punish nonprofits for their work and criminalize an extremely vulnerable population. The bill ultimately failed. But advocates remain concerned about the legislature’s approach to the issue.
What are the results of the homeless population's 2023 Point in Time count? What are the region and State getting right and wrong in the execution of its programs? How will Senate Bill 62, if passed, impact the efforts regionally and statewide?
Join us on Thursday, March 9 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where we will talk with several advocates and agencies involved in addressing homelessness in our region and beyond.
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"Forum discusses homelessness in metro Atlanta" - Steve Gehlbach, WSB-TV