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Initiative working to connect Atlanta homeless with housing in apartments across metro

Program leaders said it’s a way to give a new opportunity to the roughly 800 people in our city who need it most.

ATLANTA — For the third straight night, temperatures are so cold, the City of Atlanta has opened its warming center inside a hotel on Capitol Avenue for the homeless. 

As those seeking shelter register for the night, they can also sign up for a program that could give them an apartment of their own.

Cathryn Marchman, CEO of Partners for Home, told 11Alive the warming center has been a great opportunity to help more of the homeless apply for the Lift Initiative, a $24 million-project aimed at placing 800 homeless individuals into apartments across metro Atlanta.

Marchman said $18 million comes from federal funding, $2 million comes from the City of Atlanta and the rest from private sector donations.

Over the last six weeks, Marchman said the program has identified potential residents through shelters and different outreach programs. But, over the last several days, they've reached a wider range through the city’s warming shelter. 

“We’re seeing individuals coming in for warming from the streets, which are individuals we don’t often get to engage with,” Marchman explained. 

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So far, Marchman said 49 potential residents have applied through the project. Priority goes to the elderly, disabled, and those who have been homeless at least a year. Each apartment would have a one- to two-year lease, with a case manager assigned to each individual to help them navigate through to a long-term solution. 

“Our priority population is any household - whether single or a family - that is chronically homeless," Marchman said.

While Marchmans aid the initiative initially faced challenges finding landlords to participate, she said they successfully navigated through that by explaining the situation and offering a holding fee. So far, they’ve secured 92 apartments with 400 others pending.

While the apartments are all across metro Atlanta, all of the apartments are close to public transportation.

Marchman said they plan to place the first residents in their new apartments in the next two weeks. She said it’s a way to give a new opportunity to the roughly 800 people in our city who need it most.

“A person experiencing homelessness is a person, just like you and I, who has had challenges in their lives and had barriers on getting into a unit, and they need a second chance."

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