ATLANTA – April 15, 2021 – United Way of Greater Atlanta and the City of Atlanta announced today that they will reopen the Atlanta COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program from April 15 to Dec. 31 with $15.2 million available for rent, utility and security deposit assistance. Due to federal guidelines, the program will no longer provide mortgage assistance. Through the first round of funding for the program, which was supported by CARES dollars, United Way was able to help 6,069 families and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to stay in their homes.

COVID-19 may be diminishing as a health crisis but it continues to be a full-scale economic and social disaster. Many individuals and families across the City of Atlanta are not yet able to get back on their feet.

Housing instability has been a problem for low-income residents in the City of Atlanta long before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the City of Atlanta. The pandemic has intensified this experience for Atlanta residents, increasing the risk for foreclosure, eviction, and homelessness.

“Housing and economic stability are foundational to child well-being”,  says Milton J. Little, Jr. President and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “Without this, children and families have little chance of moving out of poverty. We are proud to have helped over 6,000 households to-date. It is our hope to extend that assistance to an additional 4,000 households in our next round of funding beginning in mid-April.”

Incorporated City of Atlanta residential renters who have experienced a loss of income because of COVID-19 will be able to receive assistance with the payment of their past due rent, utilities and security deposit dating back to March 13, 2020. Per federal guidelines for this new round of funding, there is no cap on the assistance amount. The average payment is expected to be $3,000. Landlords can apply directly for assistance.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support will have multiple access points to apply for assistance in both English and Spanish. To apply for assistance and view eligibility requirements and FAQs, options include:

  • Access the client application by visiting www.unitedwayatlanta.org or by clicking here.
  • Visit http://211online.unitedwayatlanta.org/
  • Call 2-1-1 to speak with a live 2-1-1 Community Connection Specialist Hours are limited from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Due to high call volumes, the above listed options are preferred.
  • To sign up for in-person events for application assistance, click here.
Partnering for Health Equity

Local churches are partnering with United Way of Greater Atlanta as part of a faith-based initiative to expand testing, education and other resources for communities of color across South Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.

Choose Healthy LifeTM (CHL) is a sustainable, scalable, and transferable approach to public health. The initiative partners with Black faith-based organizations to offer education, outreach and free COVID-19 testing, as the church is considered one of the most trusted institutions in community. Read about Choose Healthy Life at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Choose Healthy Life aims to raise awareness and educate the Black community on COVID-19 and other health disparities; and proactively engage the community in a COVID-19 testing campaign to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Learn more about the Choose Healthy LifeTM initiative.

Register for an upcoming COVID-19 testing event.

 

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Upcoming COVID-19 Testing Events
Date of Event Hours of Event Name of Participating Church Church Address
3/14/2021 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Impact Church 2323 Sylvan Road, East Point GA 30344
3/17/2021 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam 560 Fayetteville Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
3/20/2021 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Gateway Restoration Church 4981 Phillips Dr. Forest Park, GA 30297
3/21/2021 9:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. Impact Church 2323 Sylvan Road, East Point GA 30344
3/23/2021 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Ebenezer Baptist Church 101 Jackson Street NE Atlanta, GA 30312
3/25/2021 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Salem Bible Church 2283 Baker Rd NW Atlanta, Ga 30318
3/27/2021 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Debre Bisrat Saint Gabriel Church 3518 Clarkston Industrial Blvd Clarkston, GA 30021
3/28/2021 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Impact Church 2323 Sylvan Road, East Point GA 30344

 

This story was originally published Feb. 26, 2021, and it has been updated as of March 30, 2021.

 

Rev. Bronson Woods was planning to send 35 people to Ethiopia on behalf of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on March 1, 2020. That date sticks out to him for obvious reasons.

During that trip, the team was honored at the Royal Palace by the first woman elected president of the country, Sahle-Work Zewde. But back home, news of the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world forced massive shutdowns and self-imposed quarantines by local leaders to stem the spread of the disease COVID-19.

Woods and Ebenezer ultimately halted in-person services at the church in Sweet Auburn—led by Reverend and current Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. While Woods, the Assistant Pastor for Young Adults and Outreach Ministries, couldn’t physically interact with crowds from the former church of pastor and civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he knew the work of the church was just beginning. The pandemic wasn’t going to stop Ebenezer’s ministry.

“By March 1, the pandemic was in full effect, and as soon as it hit, we immediately knew we needed some sort of response,” Woods says. “We were able to get ahold of about 54,000 face masks and hand sanitizer, and in a few short weeks we were able to assemble those to provide that to the community.”

The church started off providing masks and sanitizer, but once testing had expanded, Woods says they were able to connect with a lab that could do COVID testing on their campus starting in early summer 2020.

“Since then, we have been testing every week,” he says. “We developed a relationship with the Fulton County Board of Health, and we now have what we call ‘Testing Tuesdays.’”

Ebenezer Baptist Church tests each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to this, they’ve partnered with local food banks to provide food to the community as well.

 

Partnering for health equity

Woods’ church has also partnered most recently with United Way of Greater Atlanta as part of a broader faith-based initiative to expand testing, education and other resources for communities of color across South Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.

Ebony Johnson, director of Place-Based Initiatives for United Way, says this Choose Healthy Life initiative kicked off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021. Choose Healthy Life was spearheaded in New York City roughly a year ago by Debra Fraser-Howze, who is widely recognized for her leadership work in communities of color regarding public health issues, is a former Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs at OraSure Technologies and Founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Fraser-Howze is widely recognized for more than three decades of global leadership to communities of color regarding teenage pregnancy, social welfare and HIV and AIDS. She also advised two U.S. Presidents while serving on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

COVID-19 has spread throughout the U.S. and devastated the Black community, and this program is centered around churches in communities of color and their ability to provide vital information as a trusted source in their community.

“I came into the project with the goal of recruiting and onboarding church partners to serve in this initiative and help them identify community health workers to do health education and outreach,” Johnson says. “Our goal with community health workers is to make sure as many as possible come from the church in that community where it’s located. They are going to be extremely important in providing that peer-to-peer trust within the community.”

Choose Healthy Life has testing events in March at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Impact Church in East Point, Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam in Atlanta, Gateway Restoration Church in Forest Park, Salem Bible Church in Atlanta and Debre Bisrat Saint Gabriel Church in Clarkston.

Helping children and families in Greater Atlanta gain access to information and testing is one of the ways we can help address regional disparities and improve conditions in South DeKalb, South Fulton and Clayton Counties. We know that every person whose life we change or positively impact, will go on to change the lives of countless others. When we work together—pooling our resources, our time and energy—our community impact grows exponentially. United, we can do more for our community. This is important work—work that is never over.

But we can all achieve more if we unite for more.

This work is particularly important in “communities of color that are very hesitant to get testing,” Johnson says. Community health workers and trusted members of the church can help clear up misinformation and misconceptions about the virus, testing and, when the time comes, the vaccine.

“People trust people who look like them,” Johnson says. “Historically, the church has always been the cornerstone for the community. Anything and everything you need—information was shared at churches. That was where you got married, other important moments in life—all that happened at church. Faith-based institutions play an important role in the center of the community.”

Woods agrees.

“There’s something about coming to a house of faith,” he says. “It soothes your doubts and calms your fears.

“The pandemic has charged us to get to work, provide resources and be of assistance right now in this time of need. We’re not just testing folks, but we’re educating folks about the pandemic, what the masks are doing and how important these measures are.”

This effort, though, has done a lot to help people buy in to the importance of testing and vaccination, Woods says. Ebenezer took steps to provide pamphlets, have doctors on site to answer questions and the work has paid off.

More people are getting tested, taking advantage of the resources Ebenezer can provide. This is what Johnson and United Way know can happen in other communities where the number of positive test cases have been significant.

“A big part of this that’s really important to us is the equity piece,” she says. “We had a particular drive to have [Choose Healthy Life] grantees come from our Brighter Future communities… Churches represented as part of this initiative are in South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties. Data has been an important tool, and we continue to use that to make investments where we do.

“I’m really proud that we have an interfaith approach to this work.”

When we Unite for More, everyone can climb. Work this important is never over or done alone. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you? Unite for more today.

Melissa says she didn’t know 2-1-1 even existed before taking a job as a Community Connection Specialist just over three years ago.

“I went to Georgia State University, and I had heard of United Way [of Greater Atlanta] in the years prior, but I had no idea that 2-1-1 was a thing and I never knew of the need for something like that,” she says.

Melissa was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the Greater Atlanta area when she was 10 years old. She grew up in Atlanta, a bilingual student who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, blocks away from an organization she would later work for answering dozens of calls daily in service to a community that had once given her so much.

She wanted to use her knowledge to help relate to and empathize with people who would likely be calling her on one of the most difficult days of their life.

“I think for me the biggest factor that helped me a little bit was my background in psychology, and a lot of it has to do with empathy,” she says. “In the beginning, we did a few months of training, and it’s about learning the systems and the information that we need to know to keep our resources current.

“But we have such a wide span of things that we cover.”

The 2-1-1 Contact Center is an information and referral system connecting people to essential services they need—access to food, help paying electrical bills, access to shelter and clothing.

Each call to 2-1-1 is filtered to a trained specialist who provides information on services that align to a person’s specific needs. 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day to offer assistance online—Melissa is one of the agents who answers live calls during the week.

“We take calls from metro Atlanta, but we also do for Columbus, Augusta, Athens, Macon—we cover a wide range of things, but in the past year the most in-demand thing has been financial help and housing,”she says.

The COVID-19 pandemic over the past 11 months has put an even greater stress on the need for programs such as 2-1-1.

About two weeks into March 2020, cities across the United States began shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The infectious disease, COVID-19, has infected millions, killed hundreds of thousands and has contributed to mass unemployment across Greater Atlanta and the United States.

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now in the works, and the distribution of those vaccines yet to be determined, there’s still a large amount of stress put on nonprofits, the private sector and government as we look to provide aid to those families in need.

The need has grown, the calls keep pouring in to 2-1-1, but Melissa says it’s important at the end of the day to disconnect and focus on your own mental health.

“In the beginning it was weighing heavy on me,” Melissa says. “You have to find a way to disconnect and manage the stress of calls related to homelessness, suicide or people who are just at the lowest of their low.”

She likes to use aromatherapy, take time to tend to her plants or play with her dog.

“I feel like there’s a couple little things we can do to manage the stress and pull back from it,” she says.

Each year, on Feb. 11 we recognize our 2-1-1 Agents with a National 2-1-1 Day celebration. It’s a time to honor the efforts of the agents in more than 200 locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The 2-1-1 program started more than two decades ago as “First Call to Help” in Atlanta.

Melissa’s job on the frontlines offering help is to provide necessary resources to those who need it, but she offers so much more.

“There’s some situations where you just really feel for them [callers],” she says. “It’s very easy in that moment when you’re talking to them to forget the script and let people vent.

“Sometimes people are skeptical or embarrassed to call and spill their problems, but a lot of people need help—this pandemic was completely unexpected. It’s all about reassuring them and making them feel like I’m here to help and then give them options and let them know what resources are out there.”

Learn more about 2-1-1 here.

This story was published on Feb. 7, 2021, and it has been updated as of March 30, 2021

 

LaKeta’s phone rings, and she puts on her headset and adjusts her microphone before clicking on the screen of her monitor to answer.

The woman on the other end tells LaKeta, a United Way of Greater Atlanta 2-1-1 Community Connection Specialist, she had been out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The woman had gone to a doctor recently for a check-up. The doctor told her she had cancer.

She was young and she didn’t know what to do next. She wasn’t sure how she could provide for herself, let alone her children.

LaKeta kept the woman on the phone, she provided her with resources she could access in her community. She helped her find access to food, finances and medical help, if needed. But LaKeta said she felt like the woman needed something else, too.

She just needed someone to talk to—someone who could relate to her experience. She needed encouragement.

“We got deep into the call, and it was about 45 minutes long,” she says with a laugh. “I had given her some referrals, and then we just talked for a while. I offered her some words of encouragement. She had children, and so I told her that whenever she felt like she could go no longer to just look at her babies and keep going.”

The phone call stuck with LaKeta because she remembers when she had to make a similar one.

A few years prior, LaKeta’s father needed a double lung transplant. She had cared for him in the days leading up to that surgery, but the illness meant her father needed to be moved into her home for round-the-clock care. He moved in with LaKeta, her husband and young child, who she had been homeschooling.

It was one of the most difficult times of her life, she says, and in the midst of all of this, her family lost their home.

It was a grind daily—calling shelters, which she says she couldn’t find a spot in because she needed to move her entirely family, food pantries and health care providers.

She would do anything to take care of those she loves most. But she couldn’t do it on her own.

The hardest part can sometimes be that first call to help, she says.

“That’s the roadblock that a lot of people run into,” LaKeta says. “It takes humbling yourself.”

LaKeta, an Atlanta native, called United Way’s 2-1-1 where she was connected to resources in her area. The 2-1-1 Contact Center is an information and referral system connecting people to essential services they need—access to food, help paying electrical bills, access to shelter and clothing.

Each call to 2-1-1 is filtered to a trained specialist who provides information on services that align to a person’s specific needs. 2-1-1 resources are available 24 hours a day to offer assistance, with agents taking calls during the week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

2-1-1 gave LaKeta resources she needed during one of the most difficult moments in her life. It would eventually give her something else, though.

In late October 2017, LaKeta took a job working as a 2-1-1 Community Connection Specialist. She went through weeks of training—agents receive a four-week training that takes them through the taxonomy code and all the different verbiage agents use, they have customer service training, call flow quality training and more.

Eventually she moved onto the floor to train with senior agents before being handed off to take her first call on her own.

“You train with them, and they don’t let go of your hand until you have all the tools you need to in order to succeed,” she said. “You’re well prepared, but you may get that nervousness on a live call. But after that first call you get through those nerves and it’s a breeze.”

She says she always tries to make a connection with the person on the other side of that call.

“With every call I get, I try to put myself in their shoes,” she says. “It’s easy for me to do that and get into that mind frame because whatever it is that someone is going to call with, I’ve likely dealt with in some way. You just try to keep that mindset and understand that this is someone’s crisis. They are people, too, and you need to treat them as such.”

Nothing could’ve prepared us for the crisis we’ve faced over the past 11 months, though.

About two weeks into March 2020, cities across the United States began shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The infectious disease, COVID-19, has infected millions, killed hundreds of thousands and has contributed to mass unemployment across Greater Atlanta and the United States.

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now in the works, and the distribution of those vaccines yet to be determined, there’s still a large amount of stress put on nonprofits, the private sector and government as we look to provide aid to those families in need.

But throughout this health and economic crisis, people like LaKeta continue work to make an impact on lives in Greater Atlanta because we know that every person whose life United Way can help improve will go on to change the lives of countless others. This work is important and work this important is never over. But united, we’ll achieve more.

The need has grown, and the calls keep pouring in to 2-1-1, but LaKeta says she’s taking the opportunity to offer help and encouragement.

“I love to just sit and take my calls,” she says. “The need is greater, and the call volume is high, but it’s not a stressor to me. The only stressor to me is that I can’t save the world.

“But what I try to do personally is give words and hope for encouragement, and that goes a long way—definitely during this pandemic. Giving them a little hope in there, letting them know that it’s OK and will all work out, that has brought me a long way. Why not try to pass it on to someone else?”

The job can be difficult—it can be emotionally demanding. But LaKeta says she takes time to meditate and focus on the positive things in her life. And she’s also thankful for her “2-1-1 Family.”

“I have made personal connections with each one of my colleagues, and we all just motivate each other,” she says. “The leaders in the department actually lead, and I never feel alone or bombarded with work.

“We are a diverse family, learn from one another and are truly caring of each other.”

When we Unite for More, everyone can climb. Work this important is never over or done alone. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you? Unite for more today.

The story was published originally in January 2021 and has been updated as of March 30, 2021.

 

Together, can help families today, tomorrow and in the future achieve economic stability.

This is an important component of improving child well-being because children thrive when their families thrive.

United Way has supported families and provided financial tools and resources for over 100 years. Today, our strategy must reflect the context of the infectious disease COVID-19 — a disease that has now killed hundreds of thousands of people and infected millions over the past year.

We know that the COVID pandemic has had a crushing impact on many industries and left millions of Georgians out of work, but it has had a disproportionate impact on the Black community. This extends to employment and wages, too.

Black worker unemployment has been almost twice as high as unemployment for white workers. This will have a lasting impact on household budgets and the ability of families to rebound.

When the Great Recession began in 2007, Black workers’ unemployment rate increased to double digits and remained that high for more than six years.

In comparison, the unemployment rate among white workers never reached double digits during the Great Recession or its recovery. It took more than 10 years for Black workers’ incomes to return to their pre-recession levels.

But even for those who are working, many are working fewer hours or have experience months without income in 2020. Tax refunds have provided an opportunity for low and moderate-income families to accumulate savings.

However, because so many families worked fewer hours in 2020, they earned less and will not have the additional dollars they may have received in the past.

According to the Center for American Progress, families use tax refunds to improve their economic stability:

  • 84% used part of their refund to pay off a debt
  • 61% used part of their refund for child care expenses
  • 33% used part of their refund to purchase or repair a car
  • 47% put part of their refund aside as savings for goals or future expenses

As a community, United Way donors and volunteers have responded to this crisis with generosity.

We have helped thousands of families by packing snacks for kids, delivering meals, donating to food banks, providing rent assistance and increasing access to health services by providing digital technology.

At United Way of Greater Atlanta, we’re focused on the well-being of children, families and communities across our 13-county region. One of our most important areas of work is economic stability.

Helping families and individuals attain financial security is foundational for our community to thrive. We know that every person whose life we change, will go on to change the lives of countless others. And when we work together—pooling our resources, time and energy—our community impact grows exponentially. United, we can do more for our community.

With your help

United, we can help more than 13,000 families build wealth by expanding outreach across our region so that more families are aware that they can get their taxes done for free. We can provide online resources and virtual tax support through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, along with drop off and limited in-person options during the pandemic.

 $750 ensures that 50 families receive outreach and online tax support. $1,000 would provide financial coaching for 65 families.

We can help more than 2,000 individuals increase their wages and close the skills gap by increasing opportunities for hands-on work experience such as internships and apprenticeships and providing low-wage workers with financial support to secure credentials in high demand careers.

$500 would provide a month of on-the-job training for someone who has been forced to retool and start working in a new industry. $2,500 provides job placement and six months of employment support to enable a young adult or a new parent to be successful in a high-tech job and compete in the marketplace. 

We can help more than 27,000 families secure housing basic needs by ensuring that fundamental elements of life like stable housing, food security and reliable transportation are in place so that families avoid a financial crisis.

$500 can provide 30 days of rent or utility payments for a single mother who has lost her job to help her family avoid eviction.

When we Unite for More, everyone can climb. Work this important is never over or done alone. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you? Unite for more today.

This story was published originally on Dec. 2, 2020 and has been updated as of March 30, 2021.

 

Jackson Hayes moved to Atlanta from Charlotte, North Carolina to “get out of his comfort zone,” and pursue his interests in entertainment.

“I’m single and live by myself — of course I’ve got some friends and stuff, and they’re like family,” Jackson says, adjusting the bands of a N95 mask as it shifts down the bridge of his nose. “I dance, sing and act as well, and Atlanta is a melting pot for Black entrepreneurs. If you want to try your hand in the entertainment industry, you want to come here.”

Jackson’s had a day job in health care, though, for the past couple years. His godbrother’s family had been providing care in group homes around Charlotte for about 20 years, but they recently decided to open a branch in Macon.

“I decided to help them with that, and that way it would give me a skillset and allow me to be financially stable,” Jackson says.

He worked in Intensive Family Intervention Services, which he said acted as a “middle point” for a child who had been in the juvenile detention system. They helped connect kids with advocates, teachers, community leaders and therapists—and it was free to families that had insurance.

But then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“We’re paid for by the government, and once there’s no kids, there’s no money,” he says. “We can do Zoom meetings and stuff like that, but that stopped and eventually it left us with no clients.”

He was furloughed from his position. COVID-19, and statewide shutdowns in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the infectious and potentially deadly disease, also put a strain on any possible career moves in the entertainment industry.

Months later, Jackson needed help paying his rent. He had been dipping into his savings, and those funds were starting to get low. He needed help. He found help on a message board for his apartment complex in East Point, he says.

Jackson knew that this would be his best opportunity to get the help he needed.

He showed up with papers tucked into the pockets of an Army green jacket, all of which had been detailed online for him to bring to make the process easy for him, he says.

“I live in a great facility,” Jackson says. “I had been checking out the message board, and I made sure all my bases were covered. I got a fast response, and it was quick and fast and [event coordinators] let me know all the documents I needed.”

Thankfully, Jackson was able to use his phone to look up the website he saw on his community’s message board, review the necessary requirements and then find out all of the documents he needed.

But this can be a barrier for many people, says Tosin Ogunnoiki, marketing specialist for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.

I feel like the main barrier is the technology barrier,” Tosin says. “The biggest issue is technology and being able to spread the word about assistance.”

Each situation and reason people need assistance is different, and Tosin says he tries to be

patient and reassuring with each client.

The discussion with clients can often get emotional and tense, he says. That’s understandable.

“I try to be sensitive to [each situation],” he says. “I’ve definitely seen a couple of people come in with eviction notices here, and I think everybody that comes in is scared—a lot of people out there are scared they will lose their home.”

Pamela Hayes—no relation to Jackson— had that same fear. She lives in a South Atlanta neighborhood where she was born and raised. She had gotten a job in the restaurant industry to support her family and small children toward the end of 2019, but after only a few months on the job she heard rumblings of the possible shutdown if the pandemic were to make its way to Georgia.

It “didn’t close down at first,” she said, but her hours were cut back drastically. As the situation became even more dire, the restaurant shut down for good.

“They said it was a temporary thing, and it just lingered on,” Pamela says. “When I lost my job, I applied for unemployment. I applied for that in May, and I was already struggling by then. I didn’t get unemployment until last month [October].

“I had to wait that long, trying and struggling to pay bills. I had called and called the unemployment office for almost 30 days straight.

“It was so much on me at one time.”

But someone directed Pamela to the event hosted by United Way that weekend.

“It was so easy, and they were all so nice to me,” she says.

Both Jackson and Pamela said the process to apply—while seemingly daunting at first—was quick and easy, and they were thankful for the team of workers who assisted them to make sure they were able to get the help they needed.

“I didn’t want to let myself be drowning and set myself all the way back,” Jackson says. “I’m looking for another job right now, but that takes time. This is enough to get me the boost I needed.”

To check your eligibility for assistance through the Atlanta Emergency Housing Assistance Program, click here.

Helping families and individuals attain financial security is foundational for our community to thrive. We know that every person whose life we change, will go on to change the lives of countless others. And when we work together—pooling our resources, time and energy—our community impact grows exponentially. United, we can do more for our community.

When we Unite for More, everyone can climb. Work this important is never over or done alone. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you? Unite for more today.

Editor’s Note: This story’s featured image is from Housing Justice League’s Facebook page. 

 

Atlanta is a community full of champions—people who work each day to improve the quality of life for every single person in that community.

Greater Atlanta needs even more champions, though, if we’re going to change our standing as the “Capital of Inequality” in America—a title we’ve carried for the second-straight year.

But first, in order to do that, we have to address the facts. Today, news and researchers have brought to light the facts around racial wealth disparities that exist and have for some time.

White families have substantially more wealth than Black families.

According to a report from the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the median household income in Atlanta for white families is $83,722 compared to $28,105 for Black families.

The average African American-owned business is valued at roughly $58,000. Whereas the average white-owned business is valued at $658,000.

Homeownership can be another key component of wealth building, and we see the same trend here. After rebuilding from the 2008 recession, in Greater Atlanta about 70 percent of white families are homeowners compared to 46 percent of Black families.

It’s a trend not only here in Atlanta and in the South, but across the United States.

These disparities arise from a system steeped in racism and founded upon it. Families living in neighboring zip codes don’t have the same opportunities as those just down the road.

Think of your community as a forest of trees—they represent our health system, education system, financial system and even our housing system.

While a tree may appear healthy, sometimes it takes looking beneath its surface and examining its roots and groundwater to find that it’s a root system in decay.

Our community, similarly to this forest, can only thrive from the ground up, and it becomes our challenge to address the unseen ideologies—the groundwater— that feed policies and investments into the roots of our communities. The groundwater that should provide essential nutrition and make a system strong is tainted by systemic racism.

 

Weather the storm

 

Housing policies from the 1940s determined where banks, developers and government would or would not invest in Atlanta. Neighborhoods that were predominantly Black were marked as not eligible or worthy of investment. They were outlined on maps and ultimately this practice was called “redlining.”

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being Map shows that despite the fact discriminatory redlining practices officially ended in 1967, the disinvestment and its after-affects continue. Black and Brown Atlantans have suffered despite their individual efforts. Home values, education investments and opportunities to accumulate wealth were limited.

We need champions to call out these problems—champions like Alison Johnson.

Alison is the executive director of Housing Justice League, a community-led grassroots organization. Housing Justice League’s mission is to work with tenants and renters to stimulate their power and drive positive impact in organizing for fair housing and tenant rights.

Housing Justice League also uses this position to provide education and support to tenants and renters while informing policy that can help reverse this inequity in housing.

Alison said in a Housing Justice Webinar hosted by Black Futures Lab that she was “born and raised” in the community of Peoplestown in Atlanta. She’s lived there all of her life, “leading the fight to mitigate the harm” caused by issues around redlining.

While she lives in Peoplestown, her family’s journey began with her grandfather in the old Atlanta community of Buttermilk Bottoms. She said her grandfather worked as a chef in a neighboring community, but Buttermilk Bottoms was where he would come home after those long days at work. She said the family was forced out of his community after the city’s “urban renewal” program came in to “clear away the slums.” They moved to what is now Old Fourth Ward, and after settling there, they were once again forced out of the community with the building of a new highway system.

The family moved then to Summerhill. This was where her parents met and married, her father a city employee and mother a stay-at-home mom who was a community volunteer that spent much of her time caring for Alison and her sister, who was deaf. Her mother and father were forced out of a rental home once again and into the Peoplestown community. It took several years, Alison said, for her family to finally secure homeownership.

It wasn’t much, but they “made it a home.”

So, Alison continues to be champion for those in Atlanta with similar stories, displaced by longstanding racist systems. She has become a champion to fight and mitigate the harm and displacement so many renters face.

“I want to make sure people who are living in these communities know exactly how important family is and how grateful we are for our culture…and how many storms we’ve been able to weather in order to remain and sustain in the communities where we are living,” she said in the video.

 

Address Groundwater Problems

 

In order to create the thriving community we aspire to—to create a housing system that can thrive—we must address the groundwater problems. We must end systemic racism and invest in solutions that address these root causes.

Homeownership in Atlanta has created this gap that has widened between white families and Black families. Private banking policies and national policies have created obstacles for Black families.

By not addressing these racial gaps, it has cost the United States $16 trillion.

United Way of Greater Atlanta announced the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund in July 2020 to tackle the systemic issues underlying the correlation between race and zip codes, place and equity. Others were taking on this challenge, too, but it was time to unite and heal together.

This is why United Way has partnered with and reached out to organizations involved in work addressing these housing gaps—organizations like Housing Justice League.

Do you want to become a champion for your community? Join United Way as we work to create a more just, equitable and inclusive Greater Atlanta. Donate today to the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund.

ATLANTA –  November 19, 2020 – The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a joint effort from Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta, today announces grants supporting education-focused interventions, food insecurity, housing and mental health services. To date, the Fund has raised more than $25 million through collective resources from public and private donors across the region. Since the Fund was announced in March, the two organizations swiftly optimized open applications as well as online quantitative data facilitation tools to identify the areas of greatest need and the most vulnerable populations to determine where to deliver philanthropic funds.

 

These grants total $6.511 million and will be distributed to 214 organizations in response to the region’s needs as a result of COVID-19. During this round of grants, BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) organizations were prioritized and received over 50% of funding. A grand total of nearly $25 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 455 nonprofits thus far. A full listing of today’s grants is detailed below. These, as well as those made in the earlier rounds, are listed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

 

Individuals who wish to contribute to supporting our region’s nonprofits can donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund here. Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis.

 

Housing Grants:

In the past seven months, more than 1.4 million Georgians have received unemployment benefits. According to Neighborhood Nexus’ COVID-19 weekly report, there were 21,088 unemployment claims the week of October 18 – a 910% increase from the week of March 8 when the first case of COVID-19 came to Georgia. With loss of employment, questions about how families will maintain housing without employment become a significant concern.

 

Mental Health Services Grants:

In 2020, people have reported an increase in the number of mental health challenges they are facing; the severity is also more intense. Rates of symptoms in the second quarter of 2020 are significantly higher than in previous years: rates of anxiety increased from 8.1% in 2019 to 25.5% in 2020; depression rates went from 6.5% in 2019 to 24.3% in 2020; suicide ideation rates went from 4.3% in 2018 to 10.7% in 2020.

 

Education-focused Interventions Grants:

Nearly 90,000 students are without access to technology in just seven regional school districts (includes both rural and metro districts), representing technology hardware needs of $43.7 million and internet access needs of $10.9 million. Districts/schools have reduced budgets but an increased need for and a shortage of PPE and cleaning supplies. As 96% of schools reopen with some kind of virtual learning options, many working families throughout the region have no choice but to return to work without safe and licensed options for children to safely learn throughout the day.

 

As a result of COVID-19 related challenges, thousands of students may not return to college, which will have a residual impact on Georgia’s economic mobility due to a decrease in our talent pipeline.

 

Food Insecurity Grants:

The current and prospective economic picture with continued unemployment suggests food insecurity will continue to be a significant issue over the coming months. There are substantial racial disparities in food insecurity rates that have been exacerbated by the pandemic: Black households are over two times more likely to be food insecure than white households, while Latinx households food insecurity rates are three times as high as white households. Both of these population groups are also disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Additional disparities in food security can be seen in rural areas, where residents often do not have easy access to local emergency food resources like a food pantry and must travel to neighboring counties to receive assistance.

 

A full listing of grantees for the eighth round of grants is listed below.

  1. 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta – $25,000 to support coaches and mentors directly working with male students to support academic gains over the year.
  2. 3D Girls – $17,500 for care coordination to address feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
  3. 7 Bridges to Recovery – $25,000 to provide safe in-person learning labs for children during distanced learning with on-site tutors.
  4. Africa’s Children’s Fund – $50,000 for rapid re-housing and utility assistance program provided to families and people in City of Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Henry, Clayton and Cobb Counties.
  5. Allen Temple AME Church of Atlanta – $20,000 to provide WiFi Safe Space for children to access virtual learning with safe adult supervision, and providing food during the day to attending students.
  6. Anita Lane Ministries – $20,000 for on-site tutorial lab for 25 students at a time.
  7. Assure Elder Care – $10,000 to support stable housing for seniors in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties.
  8. Atlanta Educational Telecommunications Collaborative, dba Public Broadcasting Atlanta – $20,000 for tutorial services for Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb and Fulton districts.
  9. Atlanta Habitat For Humanity – $50,000 for mortgage assistance to those with mortgages from Habitat.
  10. Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition – $25,000 to enhance mental health resources and provide training for staff and peer specialists such as mental health first aid.
  11. Atlanta Jobs with Justice – $50,000 to provide emergency assistance to those that have rental arrears as an immediate service but are unable to receive Unemployment Insurance and addressing systemic issues with Unemployment Insurance.
  12. Atlanta Partners for Education – $37,500 to pilot learning hubs with churches and other community partners to provide additional opportunities for students to continue their schooling, while receiving the benefits of a high quality, and in-person education.
  13. Atlanta Victim Assistance – $50,000 to respond to victim’s needs, including healing circles and support groups.
  14. Auditory-Verbal Center – $10,000 to provide digital telehealth services for the hearing impaired.
  15. Berean Outreach Ministry – $33,000 to address food insecurity in the Westside of Atlanta.
  16. BestFit – $75,000 for Tech Essentials Care Packages for homeless or foster care college students.
  17. Bethany Christian Services of Georgia – $25,000 for individual and family counseling that addresses post-traumatic stress and intensive family interventions.
  18. Bethesda Christian Academy – $30,000 to provide a safe and stable learning environment for children whose families must work.
  19. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta – $50,000 for mentoring in metro Atlanta with a focus on both academic and social emotional support
  20. Black Child Development Institute-Atlanta – $45,000 to expand the Strength Within program.
  21. Black Women’s Health Imperative – $50,000 to modify the SIS Circles program to a virtual format that empowers teen girls of color.
  22. BlazeSports America – $20,000 for therapeutic recreation programs for veterans with disabilities and PTSD, as well as transportation, access to healthy foods and peer-to-peer support.
  23. Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier – $39,865 to provide a safe space for students to access virtual learning opportunities, including tutoring in small groups with qualified teachers.
  24. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta – $100,000 to address the digital divide for students, ongoing technology support and safe care during virtual learning and after school as needed.
  25. Boys & Girls Clubs of North Georgia – $15,000 for after school programming focused on homework help and and tutoring in Pickens County.
  26. Bread of Life Development Ministries – $50,000 to address food insecurity in metro Atlanta.
  27. Bright Futures Atlanta – $30,000 for college preparation and work readiness opportunities for students from 5th to 12th grade on Atlanta’s Westside, access to camps to ensure safe and monitored access to all program and public school virtual classrooms.
  28. Brown Toy Box – $50,000 for STEAM programming specifically for Black and Brown students in Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County school districts.
  29. C Life’s Fulfillment – $10,000 to provide a safe space for children of working parents during virtual learning.
  30. Calvary Refuge – $10,000 to re-house or prevent homelessness for families, many of which are served through shelter and transition services.
  31. Caminar Latino – $20,000 to provide the Latinx community with prevention services for those experiencing family and domestic violence.
  32. Caring For Others – $50,000 to address food insecurity and increase access to local, healthy, fresh foods in metro Atlanta.
  33. CaringWorks – $50,000 to train staff in community resilience, to advocate and educate on issues related to racial inequity and to provide behavioral health services.
  34. Carrie Steele-Pitts Home – $25,000 for increased behavioral health services focused on life skills and trauma informed care.
  35. CDF ACTION – $21,000 to support WiFi access, device and support to residents of two Clarkston apartments.
  36. Cherokee FOCUS – $10,000 for work readiness programming and general education diplomas for students in Cherokee County.
  37. Children’s Development Academy – $30,000 for subsidized high quality child care for low-income essential workers.
  38. Christ The Restorer Ministry – $15,000 to provide transitional housing and emergency housing to individuals and families Gwinnett County.
  39. City of Refuge – $50,000 for on campus classrooms for homeless students to access virtual learning in Atlanta and receive support from education facilitators.
  40. Clarkston Community Center Foundation – $35,000 to provide free, supervised open learning spaces for students in virtual classrooms in Clarkston.
  41. Clarkston Community Health Center – $10,000 for mental health services and prescription access.
  42. Clifton Sanctuary Ministries – $5,250 to provide housing stability and wrap-around supports for homeless men.
  43. Cobb Collaborative – $5,000 for digital resources and virtual workshops for nonprofits and community members focused on building capacity related to mental health and wellness.
  44. College Clinic – $10,000 to provide programming focused on college access, including preparation and the application process.
  45. Communities in Schools of Atlanta – $75,000 to provide high touch support for students and families through virtual learning.
  46. Community Farmers Markets – $10,000 to increase access to local food, support local farmers and minimize the effect of COVID-19 on the local food ecosystem.
  47. Concrete Jungle – $10,000 to increase access to fresh healthy food for medically fragile and other food insecure households.
  48. Connecting Henry – $25,000 to prevent homelessness and maintain family stability in Henry County.
  49. Cool Girls – $5,000 to address food insecurity for families.
  50. Corners Outreach – $50,000 for small group tutoring for students more than one grade level behind in reading in partnership with multiple elementary schools in Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties.
  51. Covenant House Georgia – $20,000 for housing stabilization services for youth ages 16-24 experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness and trafficking.
  52. Create Your Dreams – $40,000 for full day learning pods for children 7 to 17 in Atlanta to ensure access to virtual learning provided by Atlanta Public Schools and tutoring and academic support as needed.
  53. Diabetes Association of Atlanta – $26,000 to address access to healthy food in areas and populations either with or at risk of diabetes.
  54. Dukes Foundation – $40,000 to provide at-home equipment and internet connectivity.
  55. Duluth Cooperative Ministry – $5,000 to address food insecurity in Duluth.
  56. East Atlanta Kids Club – $18,000 to address food insecurity on the Eastside of Atlanta.
  57. Easter Seals North Georgia – $85,000 to serve children and families in DeKalb County with quality early learning experiences, including the purchase of laptops, internet and learning platforms.
  58. Elaine Clark Center – $10,000 for subsidized high quality care for families with children with special needs and supports for children on IEPs with school districts.
  59. Empowerment Resource Center – $50,000 for onsite and telemedicine behavioral health services.
  60. Everybody Wins Atlanta – $22,000 for a reading and mentoring program for struggling readers and access to home libraries.
  61. Extraordinary Life Community Church – $14,250 for healing groups and counseling.
  62. Families of Children under Stress – $12,500 for care coordination and integrated services that combat stress and social isolation.
  63. Family Health Centers of Georgia – $50,000 for school-based health services for students, families and the broader community.
  64. Family Heritage Foundation – $50,000 to provide financial assistance to individuals and families who are housing vulnerable due to COVID-19.
  65. Family Life Restoration Center – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb County.
  66. Family Promise of Hall County – $6,750 to provide emergency assistance and long-term housing stabilization to families in Hall County.
  67. Family Promise of New Rock – $7,500 to provide emergency financial assistance to individuals and households to bridge gaps in rent, utilities and security deposits for housing.
  68. Fayette FACTOR (Fayette Alliance Connecting Together Our Resources) – $28,000 to work with schools to serve primarily BIPOC families with housing stabilization services.
  69. Feeding GA Families – $13,000 to address food insecurity in College Park.
  70. Fill Ministries dba Meals by Grace – $10,000 to address food insecurity in Forsyth County.
  71. Food Security for America – $5,000 to address food insecurity in apartment complexes in Cobb and Fulton Counties.
  72. Four Corners Group – $15,000 for job readiness training and employment opportunities for at-risk youth to ensure academic success and reduce recidivism.
  73. Friends of Atlanta Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill Park Communities Collaborative – $23,000 to address food insecurity in south Atlanta, including the Browns Mill, Lakewood, Norwood Manor, Thomasville Heights and Stonewall Heritage neighborhoods.
  74. Frontline Housing – $50,000 to provide rapid rehousing services for families living in motels and in need of permanent housing.
  75. Future Foundation – $40,000 for virtual tutoring program for students in Fulton County for both math and language arts, targeting learning loss and challenges to virtual learning for enrolled students.
  76. Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning – $45,000 to provide critical child care scholarships to children of essential workers in the COVID-19 Relief Fund footprint.
  77. Generation STEM dba The STEAM Generation – $14,000 so that vulnerable and low-income students at Title 1 schools can receive access to in-person, hands-on project based learning and after-school enrichment during this exacerbated period of educational inequities.
  78. Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) – $14,000 to provide grocery assistance to asylum seekers and immigrant victims of domestic violence.
  79. Georgia Community Support & Solutions, dba InCommunity – $15,000 for the purchase of devices for children of essential workers, specifically those providing direct serve needs to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  80. Georgia Mountains YMCA – $15,000 for providing students access to a safe facility during times the schools are virtual.
  81. Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education – $35,000 for state and regional advocacy efforts to examine policy and programmatic issues critical to COVID recovery efforts specifically impacting education outcomes.
  82. GeorgiaCAN – $10,000 for advocacy efforts for families of economically disadvantaged students and those with special needs.
  83. Georgians for a Healthy Future – $15,000 for policy efforts for equitable access to high quality behavioral health services and supports.
  84. Gilgal – $28,950 for integrated mental health services and staff training for trauma informed care.
  85. Good News Clinics – $40,000 for depression screenings and counseling services.
  86. Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund – $150,000 for multiple digital learning improvements for early learning access, for students, for teachers and even for parents.
  87. H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People be Empowered) – $9,000 for rent and childcare assistance for single parents attending school.
  88. Habitat for Humanity DeKalb – $50,000 to assist current homeowners and future homeowners who may be adversely affected, facing unexpected lost wages and increased childcare costs.
  89. Hand, Heart and Soul Project – $50,000 for a community garden and food distribution site in Forest Park.
  90. Harvest Rain Early Learning Academy – $30,000 to provide subsidized high quality early learning experiences and in person access for children of essential workers.
  91. Haven of Light International – $16,800 for online support groups and trainings that address domestic violence, racial trauma and resilience.
  92. Helping Hands for the Deaf – $6,000 for addressing food insecurity among deaf individuals.
  93. Hispanic Alliance Georgia – $50,000 for food pantry providing culturally appropriate food for the Latinx community in Hall County.
  94. Historic Westside Gardens ATL – $20,000 to address food insecurity and increase access to local, fresh, healthy food in the Westside of Atlanta.
  95. HomeStretch – $50,000 to provide transitional, supportive and rapid rehousing services to homeless families in the North Fulton area.
  96. Hope for Youth – $15,000 to deliver a safe after-school program for 100 girls.
  97. Hopebound Mental Health – $15,000 for mental health services provided to students and their families at Carver High School.
  98. House of Cherith – $30,000 for the residential recovery program for adult female survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation.
  99. House of Dawn – $15,000 to provide assistance through short-term housing services, emergency assistance and mental health/childcare supports.
  100. HouseProud Atlanta – $32,500 for seniors to ensure they stay in their homes and also provide access to needed home repairs.
  101. Housing Tonight – $10,000 to assist housing vulnerable populations with housing and supportive services in Atlanta, DeKalb and Clayton counties.
  102. Impact46 dba Lawrenceville Response Center – $50,000 to re-house or prevent homelessness for individuals and families in Gwinnett County.
  103. Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability – $10,000 to provide rental and utility assistance for older adults raising grandchildren with special needs.
  104. INROADS – $50,000 for INROADS College Links program in the Atlanta market.
  105. Inspiredu – $125,000 to address digital literacy and equitable technology access.
  106. Integrated Resources for Educating and Nurturing the Elderly – $12,500 for multi-generational services via the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program for Gwinnett and Walton counties.
  107. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids – $10,000 for hands on learning experiences in a safe environment for young learners and students in North Georgia.
  108. Intown Collaborative Ministries – $10,000 to address food insecurity in the City of Atlanta.
  109. Jeremiah’s Destiny – $3,000 for in-person, safe assistance to students in virtual learning.
  110. Jesus Set the Captive Free – $6,000 to provide housing assistance to men, primarily veterans, who are vulnerable to homelessness.
  111. Ke’nekt Cooperative – $38,000 to address food insecurity in Westview and West End neighborhoods.
  112. Kennesaw Dream Foundation – $10,000 for virtual tutoring program for middle and high school students.
  113. L&J Empowerment dba The Confess Project – $45,000 to train barbers and community organizers to become mental health advocates.
  114. LaAmistad – $60,000 for virtual tutoring for Latino students throughout the greater Atlanta region, including small group support and at home learning kits.
  115. Leap Year – $17,500 to for a two-generation model reading coach program that engages recent high school graduates to serve elementary students.
  116. Los Niños Primero (Children First) – $30,000 for continued distance learning educational and leadership programs and early learning opportunities for Latino families in Fulton county.
  117. Loving Arms Cancer Outreach – $8,000 to serve medically fragile, food insecure cancer patients.
  118. E.N.S. Wear (Making Employment the Next Step) – $25,000 for workforce development training aimed at providing expanded career pathways for frontline essential workers.
  119. Making A Way Housing – $30,000 to provide emergency, permanent supportive housing for people with chronic illness and disability.
  120. Marietta City Schools – $22,625 for technology needs, tutoring and mentoring to support vulnerable students and specifically students of color.
  121. Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation – $10,000 for community-based programing that supports college access and preparation for students at Maynard Jackson.
  122. Melanated Pearl Corporation – $25,000 for homeless prevention services for families led by women of color in Clayton County.
  123. Mental Fitness 21st Century Learning – $55,000 for technology and a virtual STEAM Literacy library to help students in specific underserved communities.
  124. Mental Health America of Georgia – $27,000 for the Mental Health Academy Training Program.
  125. Mercy Seed Resource Center – $8,000 to address food insecurity in Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta.
  126. Metamorphasis Powerhouse Company – $25,000 to fund public learning classrooms designed to equip students in pathways of success through project-learning activities in STEM, grade-level reading, career and college readiness in historically underserved communities.
  127. Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF) – $55,000 for an Urban Farm and Community Garden site in College Park.
  128. Morehouse School of Medicine – $42,500 for mental health first-aid to support men of color in neighborhood barbershops within the 30314 zip code.
  129. Museum of Design/Atlanta – $15,000 to provide STEM education access free of charge during virtual learning.
  130. My Brothers Keepers Reaching Out dba I Care Atlanta – $27,000 to address food insecurity in DeKalb County.
  131. NAMI DeKalb – $5,000 to expand peer support services and educational classes for individuals, caregivers, and families in DeKalb County.
  132. Nana Grants – $20,000 for child care scholarships to children of mothers in post-secondary programs.
  133. National Coalition of 100 Black Women Stone Mountain Lithonia – $10,000 for tablets and other STEM related resources and programming for black women and girls.
  134. New American Pathways – $10,000 for targeted academic support and enrichment for refugee and immigrants students in DeKalb County.
  135. New Life Community Ministries – $38,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb.
  136. Next Generation Focus – $30,000 for a virtual platform that provides after school learning opportunities for students to address academic loss.
  137. Nobis Works dba Tommy Nobis Center – $10,000 for programming that addresses barriers to academic success for students with special needs and their families.
  138. Nothing but the Truth – $5,000 to provide “Weekend Food Bags” for families in Title I schools in Gwinnett County.
  139. nsoro Educational Foundation – $10,000 to assist youth aged out of foster care with housing instability.
  140. Odyssey Family Counseling Center – $20,000 for individual and group therapy, and psychiatric services for individuals/families living in south Fulton County.
  141. Odyssey, Atlanta – $10,000 to provide year round access to tutors and mentors to mitigate learning loss.
  142. Our House – $75,000 to provide homeless shelter students access to high quality early learning, in person learning supports, as well as devices and WiFii/hotspot connectivity.
  143. Paradise Atlanta Westside Enrichment Center (PAWKids) – $13,000 to address food insecurity in Northwest Atlanta.
  144. PARENTS PROSPER (Formerly Parent Avengers) – $15,000 to connect with other parents that require assistance to maintain their housing in Vine City/English Ave.
  145. Partners in Action for Healthy Living – $43,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb and the metro Atlanta region.
  146. Phenomenal Women’s Health – $5,000 for comprehensive health services for high risk youth and uninsured/underinsured women.
  147. Place of Hope Clinic – $50,000 for the establishment of a mobile health unit to provide services in communities served.
  148. Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church – $6,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb County.
  149. Poetic Services – $10,000 for Learning Pods in underserved communities, ensuring students have access to devices, WiFi and staff to assist with homework needs.
  150. Presencia – $10,000 for in-person tutoring programs for struggling readers in a safe and monitored environment.
  151. Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale – $20,000 for safe and supportive learning environments for children in Rockdale and Newton Counties with access to tutoring and weekly home visits with families to address barriers to virtual learning at home.
  152. Project South – $50,000 for advocacy and mobilization of student and young adult voices in response to education needs during the pandemic, and laptops, hotspots for students and young adults and an education space for students in South Atlanta to access virtual
  153. Quality Care for Children – $75,000 to ensure training, technical assistance and necessary supplies for regional early learning providers and the provision of stabilization grants and parent access scholarships.
  154. R2ISE – $20,000 for art therapy programs addressing behavioral health challenges as a result of racial trauma.
  155. Rainbow House – $20,000 for emergency sheltering for children during the day as they access virtual learning opportunities.
  156. Rainbow Park Baptist Church – $25,000 to address food insecurity through a food pantry in South DeKalb County.
  157. Rainbow Village – $30,000 for mental health and integrated health services for residents living in the community.
  158. Raising Expectations – $100,000 to provide targeted virtual support for students in the City of Atlanta and in-person support for targeted students who were falling behind based on school district data.
  159. Raksha – $50,000 to provide housing assistance and utility assistance in addition to other supportive services regionally to the South Asian community that are victims of family violence throughout the region.
  160. re:imagine/ATL – $50,000 to acquire additional equipment and access to technology to serve more students.
  161. Reaping the Harvest Outreach Ministries International – $10,000 to fund a food pantry that serves Henry, South Fulton, Clayton and Butts County communities.
  162. Rebuilding Together-Atlanta – $5,000 to provide home repairs and maintenance to ensure low-income seniors stay in their home and maintain home ownership.
  163. Reflections of Trinity – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb, Fulton and Paulding Counties.
  164. Refugee Women’s Network – $50,000 to assist refugee women with homeless prevention and housing protection services.
  165. Rhema Housing – $40,000 to provide rapid re-housing, emergency support and homeless diversion services for ex-offenders, veterans and those with disabilities
  166. Ryan Cameron Foundation (RCF) – $17,500 for technology for students, self-care sessions for teachers and PPE supplies.
  167. E.E.K. Foundation – $22,000 for hands-on learning for students in grades 7 to 11 on the Westside of Atlanta, including laptops, drones, coding software and WiFi.
  168. H.A.R.E. House – $25,000 to prevent homelessness and keep mothers and their children housed and safe in Douglas and Paulding Counties.
  169. Saint Philip Child Development Center – $50,000 to provide safe care and high quality learning experiences to children aged two to five in families with parents who must return to work.
  170. Saint Philip Community Development Corporation – $25,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb.
  171. Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link – $12,000 to fund STEM programming, which has been the hardest content area to pivot during this virtual COVID-19 period.
  172. Scottdale Early Learning – $50,000 to provide care for school-age children of staff that are attending school virtually.
  173. Second Helpings Atlanta – $25,000 to address food insecurity in metro Atlanta.
  174. Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose – $10,000 for virtual trainings for youth and young adults aimed at reducing bullying and suicide.
  175. Sheltering Arms – $150,000 to provide quality learning opportunities and address learning loss for children of vulnerable families during the pandemic by providing critical childcare resources that enable parents to return to work or maintain employment.
  176. Shine Community – $50,000 to expand programs and implement new trauma-informed services.
  177. Showcase Group – $35,500 for behavioral health services and training for youth and families returning from the juvenile justice system.
  178. Sisu of Georgia – $50,000 for access to subsidized high-quality early learning opportunities and therapy for children with special needs in families who must work outside the home.
  179. SKIP Georgia Chapter – $30,000 to fund high-quality learning opportunities to prevent academic deficiency and failure among the middle and high school grade level students who are disadvantaged due to absentee parents who are incarcerated, detached or unavailable because they work multiple jobs.
  180. Smart Foundation – $10,000 for computers, laptops or tablets for low-income students who don’t have access.
  181. South DeKalb Improvement Association Education – $17,000 for virtual tutoring services for students in kindergarten through fifth grade in South DeKalb.
  182. STAR House Foundation – $10,000 for virtual one-on-one and small group tutoring to students in Fulton County.
  183. State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia – $150,000 for technology and/or internet access for approximately 1,000 students and for remote tutoring services to support the most vulnerable students.
  184. Still Waters Learning Center – $25,000 for a mobile outreach tutoring program within apartment complexes to address learning loss and struggling learners.
  185. STRIVE Atlanta – $83,187 for hardware and tech support for STRIVE students – 50% of the current cohort indicated a need for technology support, as did 32% of alumni in the Atlanta database.
  186. Study Hall – $15,000 for daily online tutoring programs for students at Dunbar Elementary as identified by school staff.
  187. Sugarloaf Korean Baptist Church – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Gwinnett County.
  188. Supreme Family Foundation – $58,000 for provision of frozen and shelf-stable meals for seniors in metro Atlanta.
  189. Teach “O” Rea Preparatory Preschool Incorporated – $21,000 for high-quality early learning experiences and academic after-school support for economically disadvantaged students in Clarkston and Stone Mountain.
  190. TechBridge – $16,500 for learning pods for the most vulnerable students and after-school, project-based STEAM programs.
  191. Toco Hills Community Alliance – $12,000 to address food insecurity in DeKalb County
  192. Together Friends Organization – $8,000 to fund middle school math programming in Clayton County.
  193. Tri-Cities Church – $3,000 to address food insecurity in College Park, East Point and Hapeville.
  194. Trinity Outreach International – $32,000 to work with schools, particularly those that have been designated as Title 1 schools, to address food insecurity.
  195. Truancy Intervention Project Georgia – $10,000 for trained volunteers working directly with students at Dunbar Elementary to address attendance challenges to virtual learning.
  196. Ubuntu 4 Youth – $5,000 to build home libraries and a book club for English as a Second Language students during virtual learning.
  197. Vision 21 Concepts – $40,000 to provide housing to vulnerable populations in Douglasville (youth, ex-offenders, ppl w/disabilities) with housing options and services that support self-sufficiency.
  198. Vision Tutoring Educational Foundation – $25,000 to fund tutoring programming that addresses learning loss for students of vulnerable families.
  199. VISIONful Communities – $12,500 for arts-based healing focused on racial trauma.
  200. Voices for Georgia’s Children – $20,000 to grow the capacity of youth-serving professionals and organizations, and advocacy efforts to expand access to youth services.
  201. We Love BuHi – $13,000 to address food insecurity along the Buford Highway corridor.
  202. West Atlanta Community Outreach – $30,000 for childcare support for frontline works and continued internet services for families who need a safe space.
  203. West End Family Life and Community Center – $15,000 to address food insecurity in the West End and surrounding neighborhoods.
  204. West Georgia Missions – $5,000 to offer housing stabilization to individuals in arrears or that are homeless in West Georgia.
  205. Wholesome Wave Georgia – $58,000 for addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, local, healthy foods in our region.
  206. Women Are Dreamers Too – $37,675 for virtual STEM educational content.
  207. Wylde Center – $10,000 for virtual programing and curriculum enhancements, providing hands on learning and at-home kits for STEM aligned lessons.
  208. YMCA of Metro Atlanta – $200,000 to continue providing 1) Campus Connections, 2) out-of-school programming to reach low-income students of working families and 3) trauma-informed care so staff members and counselors can better serve their students.
  209. Young Entrepreneurs of Atlanta Foundation – $29,000 for student access to entrepreneurial skills via livestream and self pace learning guided by community experts.
  210. Young Stars of America – $25,000 for laptops, internet connectivity and space for safe learning pods.
  211. youthSpark – $35,000 for behavioral health services, mental health training, and advocacy for children affected by sex trafficking.
  212. Zaban Paradies Center – $10,000 for mental health services for families experiencing homelessness.
  213. Zion Hill Community Development Corporation – $50,000 for rapid re-housing and emergency assistance in South Fulton.

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta

Chad Parker, 404.358.5055

cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org

Have you ever stopped to watch a tree swaying with a breeze?

Imagine sitting in your favorite park or looking out your window at a tree whose limbs spread wide reaching out 20 or 30 feet, with branches reaching two, maybe three stories toward the sky. With leaves that are starting to turn golden with the onset of fall, the tree is healthy. But what if instead of stretching far and wide on both sides, there were a set of broken branches? Or what if the leaves in the middle section were shriveling and turning brown?

What if there were signs of decay or damage not only to that one tree but to several other trees in different parts of the park?

When we think about our community, we can think of it like a forest of trees. Some trees represent our health system, some represent our education system, our housing system, financial system and so on. On the surface, the trees don’t seem connected, but what if there was the same problem with several trees?

We would need to look beneath the surface, examine the roots and its groundwater.

For too long in Greater Atlanta and across our country, systems we interact with every day have been trying to fix or help one tree at a time. But the problem is in the groundwater. What should provide essential nutrition and make a system strong has been tainted by systemic racism.

Similar to a forest of trees, a community thrives only from the ground up.

Our challenge is that across the Greater Atlanta region there are too many trees that are not thriving — where the branches and leaves have been fractured by serious storms and weakened at the roots because there was poison in the groundwater.

Groundwater represents the unseen ideologies that feed policies and investments—the roots of our communities. When the groundwater is poisoned, the roots feed that poison into our community through disregard and disinvestment for Black and Brown communities, embedding racial inequities in health, education and economic systems. As these policies “branch” out, our community becomes fragile and unable to weather the next unprecedented storm.

To have the thriving community we all aspire to, we must end systemic racism. We must invest in solutions that look to address the root causes of the problem. In other words: For groundwater problems, we need groundwater solutions.

United Way of Greater Atlanta launched its Child Well-Being efforts in 2017 in hopes of addressing these disparities. But the problems did not start then. To United Way of Greater Atlanta and many of our partner nonprofits across the metropolitan area, the data about racial disparities in health, education, housing and income is not new. What is new is the way we are looking at the connections across those issues.

With a groundwater approach, we see that the problem is not in the struggling students, the overworked parents, the uninsured neighbors. Instead, we see that the way institutions are set up and the policies in place prevent resources from flowing where they are needed most. We see that socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequities that exist. We see that systems and representatives of those systems treat people differently based on race.

Decades of disinvestment has created instability, limited the opportunity of children and locked Black and Brown communities out of economic prosperity, and these policies have made the branches of Greater Atlanta weaker.

Acknowledging this reality is necessary, but not the end of our journey. We are on an equity journey. Today in the midst of so much turmoil and tragedy we have found information, insights and partners that renew our hope that this community can close the racial divides and strengthen the roots of our community.

By reading publications like Groundwater Approach by the Racial Equity Institute, attending trainings with the National Equity Project, listening to leaders at Partnership for Southern Equity, Annie E. Casey Foundation, TransFormation Alliance, and partnering with organizations like the Housing Justice League and New Georgia Project, to name a few, we call attention to the change needed to create a more inclusive Greater Atlanta.

When United Way announced the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund in July 2020 to tackle the systemic issues underlying the correlation between race and zip codes, place and equity we knew that others would join taking on this challenge. We knew that it was time to unite and heal together.

“The correlation between race, zip codes and its effect on child well-being makes it critical for United Way to address place and racial equity strategically,” Katrina D. Mitchell, Chief Community Impact Officer at United Way of Greater Atlanta, said previously. “The decisions and actions we make today will significantly shape the future.”

And those actions, Mitchell says, are to invest in structural solutions that create effective, long-lasting change and address the root causes of racial inequity. To address these causes, we must invest in civic engagement, leadership and capacity building and education and awareness.

“The establishment of the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund adds significant momentum towards the realization of a more just and inclusive Greater Atlanta,” Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer for the Partnership for Southern Equity, said in a previous report.

Smith encouraged others to participate in civic leadership, adding that “the journey towards racial equity for current and future generations is a difficult path to follow.” But it’s a necessary path to follow.

Help United Way create a more just, equitable and inclusive Greater Atlanta. Donate today to the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund.