On Friday, August 13, the culmination of a monumental community effort came to life with the dedication of Gwinnett County’s first and only homeless shelter, The Resting Spot. After many years of planning, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s HomeFirst Gwinnett initiative gathered community leaders and government officials for an official ribbon cutting to commemorate the occasion and celebrate a vision realized.
The $1 million, 20-bed facility located in Norcross will house women and their children and includes a library, computer lab, dining area and landscaped courtyard for guests to use up to 90 days. Government funding along with monetary and in-kind donations from corporate partners made the shelter’s opening possible. “We are happy to finally be in position to provide women and their children a temporary place to rest and regroup while they work to secure transitional housing,” said The Resting Spot Shelter Director, Brandee Thomas. “From job training to mental health services, we are aligned with community partners who can assist families with making the transition from the shelter to stable housing.”
At the ribbon cutting, Chad Dillard, Chief Development Officer of United Way of Greater Atlanta, recognized many instrumental community leaders and organizations like the Primerica Foundation, Gwinnett County Government, and former Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman, Charlotte Nash. He also acknowledged Pat McDonough, community advocate and long-time United Way of Greater Atlanta volunteer, who championed the mission and led community stakeholders to embrace the hard task of finding the resources and partnerships to see the shelter across the finish line. “United Way of Greater Atlanta is extremely grateful for these community partners and for leaders like Pat McDonough who became the ultimate champion, connector, visionary, driver and everything else we needed to ensure The Resting Spot came to fruition,” said Chad. “United Way is grateful for your leadership.”
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman and United Way volunteer, Nicole Love Hendrickson, discussed the complexities of homelessness citing the statistic that an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people experience homelessness in Gwinnett. “In 2017, the average age of a homeless person in Gwinnett was just 6 years old,” said Hendrickson. “Homelessness is a complex and tragic problem that has only worsened during the pandemic, and Gwinnett County is fortunate to have a partner like HomeFirst Gwinnett on the front lines addressing this issue.”
On Tuesday, August 17, the shelter officially opened and welcomed two families and four single women who were experiencing homelessness. While at the shelter residents will have access to the Norcross Assessment Center, a one-stop shop for resources and support to start their journey to better financial stability. “There is so much more work to do to address this complex problem of suburban homelessness,” said Matthew Elder, Executive Director of HomeFirst Gwinnett. “The shelter opening has been a long time coming and we wanted to make sure we were equipped and 1,000 percent ready to fully support families in need.”
To learn more about the shelter opening and experience the ribbon cutting, click here. For those who are experiencing homelessness and in need of help, please call the Norcross Assessment Center at 770-847-6765 or visit www.homefirstgwinnett.org for assistance.
Previously published on SaportaReport.com.