Courage, Fortitude, and Grace
For the past few years, I’ve used social media as the “container” for some of the stories of people who I’ve met who are experiencing homelessness, and I write about them with the goal of…
At The River, we care deeply about our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, and we are dedicated to building our own awareness of what it is like for someone to live and survive on the streets of Atlanta, and sharing that with others. Building trusting relationships with our homeless friends is our first goal, as it helps us meet their immediate needs more effectively, and defines our work with organizational partners who can help them make more sustainable change. Our second goal is to take “upstream” actions to prevent homelessness, in the form of political advocacy, policy change, and raising awareness.
We are a program of Virginia-Highland Church, and started out humbly, by getting to know those experiencing homelessness in our intown Atlanta neighborhoods, finding out who they are, and what they have been through. While realizing that like all of us, they have families, friends, hopes and dreams, we began to share their stories in person and online, in a way that our friends were able to see the humanity of these people who are living on the streets. Our relationships with them helps us work together to get the help they need. And as importantly, telling their stories has been effective in changing perceptions about our friends, and moving others to determine ways that the can join our efforts to end homelessness.
We tell the stories of the people we meet who are living outside, in shelters, or on the streets.
We partner with the following organizations to help them expand their transformative work in helping to end homelessness in Atlanta
Intown Collaborative Ministries' goal is to provide long-term and immediate support to intown neighbors to permanently prevent and alleviate homelessness. The River’s partnership with ICM helps them reach 160 more chronically homeless people each year, placing 40 of them in permanent housing.
First Step’s mission is to end homelessness by helping recently homeless or at-risk people find jobs. Since 2016, First Step has recruited and placed over 2000 people who were experiencing homelessness. The River’s work with First Step allows them to expand their recruitment efforts, and employ more people.
Mercy Care Street Medicine takes medical and mental health care to people living on the streets, under bridges, and in the woods, making “house calls” to those experiencing homelessness. Our partnership with them allows Street Medicine to expand their reach, and extend their impact.
Recognizing housing as a fundamental right and key component of living with dignity, Living Room works to enable people experiencing homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS to find and maintain permanent housing.
City of Atlanta Public Defenders' Office is initiating a pretrial diversion program to keep the chronically homeless out of the criminal justice system and instead use their arrest as an opportunity to get them to agree to go into housing and get them off the streets.