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Nonprofit envisions new affordable housing as 'one-stop shop' for homeless services

Project leaders hope Thrive Sweet Auburn will be a model for organizations to work together and combat the conditions that lead to homelessness

ATLANTA — On Wednesday, Mercy Housing Southeast and nonprofit Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI) will mark the grand opening of Thrive Sweet Auburn. 

The multi-use community center in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood off of Decatur Street includes 117 affordable apartment homes as well as commercial space that will house on-site social services for residents experiencing homelessness. 

"Homelessness, as we all know, is a huge issue here in metro Atlanta but also across the country," Jimiyu Evans, Co-CEO of PCCI, told 11Alive. "We found that when you have complementary services under one roof, that provides an easy opportunity for people to access services but also be connected to the right services that are going to help them move up and be able to be self sufficient."

As a result, the nonprofit will have its headquarters on site while the ground floor will also include a community kitchen, a medical clinic and offices for First Step Staffing. The inclusion of First Step Staffing will mean easy access to job support and opportunities for residents. 

"The need in the city of Atlanta, in the state is tremendous," James Alexander, President of Mercy Housing Southeast, said. "There were 1,500 families who applied and so the need really outstrips the supply of housing that's in this area."

"Whether you are living on the streets or you're an essential service worker, working in retail, whether you've got your first job in the Atlanta area, there's not enough affordable housing, and I think this is why this is especially meaningful," Alexander added. "Because more housing like this is needed in areas where we're close to services like Grady, MLK Marta station and downtown."

Per Alexander, the housing is available by application for people who earn between 30 to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), and will offer 23 permanent supportive housing units for families exiting homelessness, with additional units reserved for U.S. military veterans.

While there is currently a waitlist, Alexander said spots are still available for veterans. A few units are also available for residents who earn approximately $40,000 to low $50,000 a year. 

"This concept of Thrive Sweet Auburn really is something that we want to see replicated, not only here in metro Atlanta but across the country," Evans said. "Success for us really is about the outcomes as far as sustainability for people going forward. Making sure that they have a opportunity to thrive, making sure that they have the supportive services and the things that they need to be able to take care of their families."

Interested applicants can learn more here.

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