The city of Atlanta is growing at a rapid pace. It has recently been named the third fastest growing city in the U.S. and by 2022 will surpass Philadelphia as the eighth largest city in the nation. While growth is positive in many aspects, an expanding population can present challenges for some residents. The goal for Atlanta is to promote sustainable growth without displacing low-income residents.
City of Refuge, a local nonprofit that caters to the needs of Westside residents, aims to aid in this goal by constructing a new affordable housing complex across from their facility. “The 1300” broke ground on Thursday, October 18, and will serve the housing needs of families as well as students enrolled in City of Refuge’s workforce educational programs.
Of the 47 units in this new housing complex, half will be designated to mothers and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Other residents will be those going through vocational training at the newly opened Workforce Innovation Hub, a factor of the nonprofit that provides career opportunities through education, mentoring and job placement. The remaining apartments will be rented out to mixed-income residents. City of Refuge plans to provide full supportive services for everyone living in the apartments
City of Refuge was founded in 1997 by Bruce Deel and focuses on social transformation of individuals and families in crisis. Today, their services range from healthcare to housing to education. They offer housing, support and resources to victims of sex trafficking in House of Cherith, and mothers with children and single women in Eden Village. City of Refuge is located in one of Atlanta’s most historic and struggling neighborhoods where nearly 40% of the residents live below the Federal Poverty Level.
With investments from the Chick-fil-A Foundation, the City of Atlanta and Muhtar Kent, City of Refuge was able to purchase the 60,000 square foot complex as their first off-site housing project. The apartments are projected to be finished by summer of 2019. While construction takes place, City of Refuge is covering the balance of the 20 families that lived on the piece of land previously. These residents will have the opportunity to move back in upon completion of the project.
Over the past 20 years, City of Refuge has changed the lives of over 20,000 lives by providing self-sufficient solutions to poverty for individuals and families. By continuing their mission of providing vital resources, networks and opportunities to those who seek it, they hope to aid the Westside in its sustainable revitalization effort.