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Atlanta Residents Push Back Against City’s Shelter Plan

Dozens of residents showed up to a meeting at the Pittman Park Recreation Center about a proposed homeless shelter.
Dozens of residents showed up to a meeting at the Pittman Park Recreation Center about a proposed homeless shelter.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

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Southwest Atlanta residents aren’t happy with a plan to put a homeless shelter in one of their neighborhoods.

 

The city said it’s considering turning a vacant building it owns at 836 Metropolitan Parkway into a temporary facility for homeless families. It would house no more than 75 people and be run through a public-private partnership.

At a meeting Tuesday, dozens of residents from the neighborhood, which is Pittsburgh, told the city, “Not here.”

Tacita Williams, whose home is near the proposed site, said the area is already struggling enough.

“This is ridiculous. What do you mean you’re putting a shelter here,” Williams said. “We have our own homeless population. We have our own issue of abandoned houses.”

She and others said Pittsburgh needs development that will attract investment, not deter it.

 

In the meeting, residents said they would rather see the city’s property turned into a community kitchen or a small business incubator. The Andrew P. Stewart Center, which provides after school programs, also said it was interested in buying the building.

 

Some residents at the meeting pointed out that news of this shelter came as the mayor expressed interest in shutting down Peachtree and Pine, a large Midtown shelter.

But city officials said repeatedly that the Pittsburgh project was unrelated.

The city also pointed to a similar public-private shelter project in Dallas, which officials said was an economic boon to the surrounding area.

Katrina Parks Taylor with the mayor’s office said the Pittsburgh plans were still conceptual, and it would continue talks with residents about the property.

“We are coming back to regroup and discuss everybody’s options and what people would like to see,” Taylor told the residents.

 

The neighborhood’s Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, who facilitated the meeting, also said she plans to schedule another meeting about 836 Metropolitan in the near future.