Over the course of 12 hours last night and early this morning, Atlanta started work on its first-ever homeless registry. More than 150 volunteers surveyed nearly 400 men and women in shelters and on the city's streets in an effort to collect their personal data.
The voluntary registry occurred as part of Atlanta's larger Unsheltered No More effort, which aims to learn more about why people are homeless throughout the city. The survey asked for personal information - including mental health conditions, prior housing situations, drug abuse, and employment history - in order to create policy and help individuals find permanent housing in the future that's tailored to their specific needs.
As CL followed the city's registry efforts, we watched Atlanta's homeless individuals open up about their personal stories and life circumstances. Some were employed, while others had health conditions that prevented them for holding steady jobs.
Alex Nunn, pictured below, elaborated on how he ended up on the streets three months ago. The 52 year-old moved to Atlanta to live with his then-girlfriend following the completion of a three-year prison sentence. After a dispute, though, she kicked him out and he has since stayed in the city's shelters. Last night, he said that the shelter he usually sleeps at was full, which meant that he would spent the night roaming south downtown's streets.
"Things move quickly," says Nunn as he summarizes his story as we talked off of Forsyth Street near the Greyhound bus station and Magic City around 3 a.m.
Nunn is one tale of an unsheltered individual. What was striking last night, however, was the fact that most men and women have far different paths to homelessness. One common thread, as Atlanta Mission's Britton Clark notes, is that most homeless people have just "two or three" unfortunate turns that land them on the streets.
We'll post our full story on the city's homeless registry, which will continue next week due to last night's inclement weather, next week. For now, though, take a look at Dustin Chambers' photographs from Atlanta Mission and south downtown.
Funny and interesting. Thanks.
"Stadium Love" - Metric
Ben Palmer is a funny dude. I'm saving up to buy his book someday.
Some call it poverty - others call it a simpler life.
you're soooo edgy jr.
Come to the show on Chistmas Eve