I've been working at a local shelter for 2.5 years now, and I've learned a lot about homeless men and women and the issues that they face. My heart goes out for these men and women that you've captured, but I must say, the caption on your last picture is a low blow and untrue.
I get the privilege of seeing homeless men secure employment on a weekly basis. Last week 4 of the guys in my program received full-time employment. It is worth mentioning that many of the men receiving employment have criminal backgrounds, though that isn't true of all. I know of other organizations that are seeing the same type of results because we've found that there are many employers in Atlanta who are willing to give these men and women an opportunity.
My good friend who is a social worker in our shelter helps on average 25 men a month get into permanent housing, some who had been living on the streets for years.
We sleep approximately 300 men in our shelter on a nightly basis and that number will go up another hundred during the colder months. They are fed, clothed, given an opportunity to shower and get toiletries every day. During their stay here, our staff engages them to see how we can help end homelessness permanently in their lives.
The reality, and the side you might not get the chance to see, is that some people just do not want help. Some of them are comfortable where they are and if given the opportunity to get off the streets today, they still wouldn't take it. Unfortunately, this has become a way of life for them.
Could the city of Atlanta do more to help the homeless? Of course. There is always more to do. But the harsh truth is that some people just do not want real help.
If you really want to help them out, the best thing you can do is research of the services offered around Atlanta. Who feeds free meals and what time? Who offers emergency shelter? What shelters are just shelters and which ones are trying to make a difference in these men and women's lives?
I hope that in the midst of you getting your story, you pointed them in the direction of some people that could really help them...because if not, you sure missed a great opportunity to end homelessness in their lives.
Atlanta City Guide
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Creative Loafing Atlanta
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