Houseless Crisis in Atlanta

It’s 8 am and 24 degrees and I am waking up to get ready for a mutual aid event at Woodruff Park that starts @ 10 AM. The night before I assembled roughly 50 “packs” to hand out that included PPE/Hygiene/Winter articles. Also included was blankets, coats, wool socks, and other garments I collected during a mutual aid drive with Metro Atlanta DSA. I had 2 questions I couldn’t get out of my mind: Is this enough for below freezing temperatures? What's going to happen to the people in the upcoming evictions on New Years as a result of mass unemployment during a pandemic?

Boulders in Atlanta put under the highway 12/2020 to prevent the houseless from sleeping there. Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/rocks-under-bridges-in-downtown-atlanta-where-homeless-sleep/85-d7a97da8-0d94-4590-8dd0-5919d9641302

Earlier this month I handed out these “packs” and I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming number of displaced residents in Atlanta, more specifically the fourth district. I’m sitting in my car wondering “what is Atlanta doing to house these people during the cold?”. As far as I know, not a damn thing. At the height of the pandemic hotels averaged just 8% occupancy, meanwhile people lost their source of income and were forced onto the streets. Is this how cruel capitalism really is? Housing is a human right. And because this is all a human rights violation: it is not in the interest of the capitalist playbook to help those in need (disaster capitalism: capitalism profits from disasters).

So what does the City of Atlanta decide to do? See below

Source: Image taken from official @CityofAtlanta twitter feed

Ok but how are the houseless suppose to find out about this warming center? How are they suppose to find accessibility to this location? It’s the 26th and it is below freezing, we are suppose to just leave them out in the cold? I have just as many questions as you do, and no government answers in sight.

With hotels reaching record low occupancy rates, why don’t we house the houseless there? How are restaurants across the country creating makeshift outdoor/indoor dining areas during the pandemic but you are telling me that the City of Atlanta cannot do the same for the houseless? What are the city’s priorities? My only answer: The city’s budget during a pandemic is out of order. Building shelters for the houseless is not only a cost effective solution but is the right thing to do.

Makeshift outdoor dining areas in New York created for those to “dine out” during the pandemic. Source: Image taken from twitter user: @margotwoll

Thousands of Georgians are set to face eviction on New Years, the city of Atlanta has chosen to turn its back on its very own people that helped create this city. The growing Houseless crisis is an issue for all of Atlanta but it’s going to get worse for the fourth district. Why? As of early 2018, the fourth district is the highest rented district of any district in Atlanta, has second to highest poverty rate, and has the second to lowest median household income. The future is dark for a lot of the nearly 40,000 people that live here, and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. The only answer that I have is that we need Socialism, because capitalism is obviously not working.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store