By Nicole Malone
Upon arrival on Edgewood Ave in Metro Atlanta November 17th the gleaming sunshine bursting forth filled Hurt Park with a ray of hope, although extreme oppression, hopelessness, and despair was prevalent. The acts of kindness, and love exuberating throughout the park calmed the storm if only for a moment of so many homeless faces. Nicole’s Performing Art Center Inc. was one of the nonprofits on hand providing food, and care packages to those in need. I was inspired to get involved in the epidemic of increased homelessness in the Metro Atlanta area after working for Uber part-time, and dropping off a client near Edgewood, Atlanta. When I saw human beings scattered all over the park living like animals it was mind blowing, it consumed my thoughts for many weeks after. I couldn’t understand how a city that was thriving like Atlanta could see this demoralizing imagery and be mundane to change. I decided I needed to get involved and that is when my business partner and I organized a “Feed the Homeless” event with the help of local sponsors; Kroger’s, Shane’s Rib Shack, Bass BBQ and Pansbury’s Crust & Pie along with donors and volunteers Nicole’s Performing Art Center Inc. was able to come to Hurt Park in Edgewood, and feed several homeless people. But, I left being plagued with the thought that what I had done was only a temporary fix, and was I, and so many others who addressed the basic needs really coming up with a solution or just a quick fix.
What has caused so many homeless people in Atlanta?
What I discovered after talking to several homeless people is mental illness is real. I realized if you don’t know better; how can you do better? The main factors affecting the homeless that are keeping them in a paralysis of insufficiency of economic growth is mental illness, addiction, and gentrification. Gentrification has caused many families to be displaced in the city of Atlanta over a span of time. By 2011 all Atlanta housing projects had been demolished and recently the largest homeless shelter has been closed Peachtree Pine which sits on the edge of downtown Atlanta. Peachtree Pine closed their doors in August leaving homeless people in desperation as the colder temperatures escalated forcing many to flock to Hartsfield International Airport seeking warmth and security. Although gentrification has its pros and cons the impact has drastically affected the homeless. Atlanta is a thriving city that larger companies target for economic success, but at what cost? Companies want to change the image of Atlanta. The image of poverty is not appealing to their business concepts so the disadvantage is displaced families with nowhere to go. The truth of the matter is people in poverty have been forgotten and the unique historical culture of Atlanta is becoming a thing of the past. The decline of homeless shelters and the overcrowding of the ones in existence have caused homelessness to become more of genocide than an epidemic. Please contact Nicole’s Performing Art Center Inc. to find out how you can get involved in ending poverty and homelessness. email@example.com