When it comes to protecting vulnerable Georgians, we’re still in this together

Our community needs a comprehensive solution to homelessness and hunger. Here’s how we’re making that happen.

HOPE Atlanta CEO Jeff Smythe joins community volunteers at the Women’s Community Kitchen

In 2021, Atlanta’s economy (and that of many other metropolitan areas nationwide) can best be described as “a tale of two cities.” For some, a booming real estate market and stabilizing economy signal prosperous days ahead. But many others will be left in 2020’s dust and face an uphill battle to achieve basic economic stability.

Although a return to “normalcy” seems on the horizon, and we all long to put the pandemic behind us, we must continue to advocate for marginalized people and communities who have been disproportionately affected. Those of us working on the front lines to “flatten the COVID-19 homelessness curve” witnessed firsthand just how many Georgians’ very livelihoods (not just lifestyles) were threatened.

HOPE Atlanta saw a 300% increase in calls for help, especially among low-income families seeking rental assistance and eviction prevention. Action Ministries saw the need for food assistance increase 800%.

Even before the pandemic forced so many struggling families to the brink of disaster, housing insecurity and hunger plagued our communities at hard-to-comprehend levels. Approximately 13% of Georgia families were already food-insecure, and 41% of households had little to no savings. According to Partners for Home, affordable housing was also scarce; just 10% of Atlanta’s apartments were considered affordable to households earning less than $45,000 in 2018.

It’s easy to see why hunger and homelessness are such closely-connected issues. With households spending disproportionately on housing costs, many are forced to make impossible choices: pay the rent or put food on the table?

Now, bold action is needed to ensure that everyone in our communities has access to the necessities: housing and food. That’s why HOPE Atlanta and Action Ministries have officially joined as one organization to build a comprehensive solution to hunger and homelessness.

“This is an exciting new chapter for everyone who has been involved with Action Ministries,” said Adam Ogburn, who served as Board Chair for Action Ministries and has joined HOPE Atlanta’s leadership as a board member. “With services now spanning 31 Georgia counties, we’ll be able to mobilize even more effectively and amplify our community impact.”

While we’ll be operating under the HOPE Atlanta name, Action Ministries’ work and essential programs (like Smart Lunch Smart Kid, SuperPacks, and Feed the Hungry Food Boxes) will continue.

And because it takes a village to effect lasting change, we’ll be relying on the community more than ever to end homelessness and hunger. If you’ve been looking to get involved with a worthy cause, there’s no better time! Here are some easy first steps:

For more information, including FAQs and press releases, please visit hopeatlanta.org/stronger-together.

Our vision is to end hunger and homelessness for every Georgian.