Each night, approximately 2,000 Atlanta citizens sleep under bridges, in parks, and on benches and sidewalks. Another 2,700 cycle in and out of emergency shelters. Despite the sustained efforts of numerous partners, homelessness remains a significant challenge in Atlanta.
With leadership and commitment from Mayor Reed, Unsheltered No More (2012-2013) was a collective impact initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness in Atlanta. The initiative was supported by Mayor Reed’s Innovation Delivery team, which was initially funded through a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
After learning what other cities had been able to achieve in reducing homelessness, in April 2012, community stakeholders set a collective target of housing 800 people by December 2013.
However, it became clear through conversations with community stakeholders and national experts that simply housing people would never truly move the needle on homelessness. A longer term strategies for coordinating services and resource allocation was essential.
Unsheltered No More partners relied on a two-pronged approach to tackling the goal of reducing homelessness:
- Housing 800 People: Leveraging existing resources to accelerate current housing placements and test new approaches to more effectively meeting the needs of Atlanta’s homeless population;
- Sustaining impact: Engaging stakeholders in the creation of a set of standards and strategies for coordinating services across fragmented funding streams and programs.
Unsheltered No More would have been possible without the leadership, resource commitments, advice, and actions of countless individuals and organizations working throughout Atlanta and its partner jurisdictions to maximize collective impact. The Innovation Delivery Team provided leadership, analytical support, and meeting facilitation.
As of December 2013, partners had exceeded Unsheltered No More’s target: 1,022 people moved into housing through a coordinated process. At the same time, a number of systems changes were set in motion that will help the City of Atlanta and its local, state, and federal partners continue to work toward meeting the White House’s goal of ending chronic and veteran homelessness.