City council votes to allow negotiations to proceed over Atlanta shelter

Atlanta City Council approves ordinance targeting Peachtree-Pine shelter

ATLANTA -- The city of Atlanta is trying to shut down a homeless shelter and replace it with new facilities for first responders.

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council voted to pass an resolution to begin the process of negotiations to acquire the properties that make up the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter located at 477 Peachtree St. According to the resolution, the city would use the space for an additional fire station and new location for Atlanta Police Department's SWAT team.

The Atlanta City Council met on Monday to hear from the public and make the decision. Residents from the neighborhood gathered inside the meeting to speak, but several times, it was held up due to disruptions. 

 

 

 

 

Council members voted to pass the resolution shortly after 4 p.m., which caused more outbursts from the public. 11Alive's Joe Henke was there during the meeting.

 

 

 

Council member Felicia Moore was the only one to vote against the plan. 

The resolution cites data that shows "50 percent of all emergency calls to AFRD occur within the five minute nine second travel time benchmark" of the Peachtree-Pine location.

The new location would relieve call volume from Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department Station 15 that, according to city, has a higher call volume than any other station.

In all, the city holds that the acquisition of the shelter would improve public safety.

"It has been determined that this location is the most ideal location for a Police and Fire facility in terms of
operational efficiency, best practices and cost effectiveness," the resolution reads.

If the city acquires the shelter properties, APD would also relocate their SWAT team there to provide a "centralized location" that would allow the team to report to calls in 14 minutes or less, according to the resolution. The city also said the new central location would allow for more efficient crown control for big events.

SunTrust Bank and Rector, Wardens and Vestry of St. Luke's Church, Inc. owns property at the shelter that's operated by the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

The city will negotiate with the parties who have legal claims to the properties and if an agreement cannot be reached, use eminent domain to obtain the properties.

 

Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless tweeted an announcement that they would protest at Monday's city council meeting on the ordinance.

Photos | Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter protest

The shelter has a sorted past and has been the location of shootings, murders and a tuberculosis outbreak that received national attention. In 2015, Fulton County was responsible for 57 percent of all such cases reported in the entire country and researchers identified Peachtree-Pine as a major source of the outbreak.

Man killed at Peachtree-Pine Shelter

Police: Suspect opens fire at group of homeless people

Fatality identified in shooting near Atlanta homeless shelter

Tuberculosis drives latest push to close downtown homeless shelter

In December 2015, the city council signed off on a study to look at turning the homeless shelter into a police and fire station. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the study's cost was around $50,000. That came after the city fought to shut the shelter down after the tuberculosis cases.

Atlanta Mayor Reed has been talking about his wish to convert the properties into police and fire facilities for more than a year.

The Peachtree Pine shelter houses as many as a thousand people on Atlanta's coldest nights. It's the city's largest homeless shelter and has been an uneasy fixture for 17 years in an otherwise thriving part of downtown.

According to their website, Peachtree-Pine offers a variety of services that include a homeless assistance hotline, a service center with case workers, medical services and testing, an emergency overflow shelter, a resident volunteer program and transitional housing.

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(© 2017 WXIA)


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