Final closing of Peachtree and Pine

Lola Biddy, Writer

The Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless Shelter, which sits at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Pine Street in Downtown Atlanta, is closing its doors after thirty-six years of operations and services. The project was aimed towards creating a safe community for anyone without a home.
 The shelter has faced years of legal battles and lawsuits, which are now coming to a close as ownership is being transferred to the development group Central Atlanta Progress (CAP). The homeless shelter and CAP have been in a legal struggle over the ownership of the property since the task force took control of the building in 1997.
However, back in early June of this year, the arguments came to a close. The task force and CAP reached a settlement that is estimated to be worth nearly 10 million dollars. The settlement will most likely assist in carrying out the task force at a different location, even though they do not plan on continuing the shelter. Instead, they are going to focus on placing more people in residential housing of their own.
The City of Atlanta gave a press release, clarifying their plans and course of action when it comes to the placement of the hundreds of men and women who are currently relying on the shelter for support.
“The settlement agreement also authorizes Central Atlanta Progress, working closely with The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, to proceed with plans to place the current residents of the Peachtree-Pine shelter into other suitable facilities,” City of Atlanta said. “The Task Force will continue to provide services from the shelter until Aug. 28 of this year.”
The staff and volunteers at the task force are apprehensive towards the claims that the city will provide assistance, since they have seen no evidence or attempts at help in the past.
“We said ‘Hey look, in the settlement agreement there are going to be 3-500 people that get affected by this, so we are going to need you guys to pony up,”  Executive Director of the task force, Carl Hartrampf, said. “I mean you never would before, you’ve been saying it the whole time and you never would before, but since you get the building, and since it’s going to be your responsibility, maybe this is a good time to hear it.’So, three months since that agreement has been announced, and we’ve been talking about it but I haven’t seen any help from them.”
Although the task force will be closing on the 28th of August, the shelter will stay open for about another six months to allow its residents to find new homes. Troy Harris, their information technology coordinator, expressed the increased difficulty that the current residents of the shelter are going to be facing in the coming months. Regrouping 300-500 homeless people is not as easy as the city is making it out to be.
“Our experience was, we found out there wasn’t a lot of help for people, and so here we generated as much help as we could, early when you have an organization like this you think that providing shelter, and perhaps a referral, a job, some help finding housing, a hotline where you can call in and say these are the resources in the area that you are in,” Harris said. “You begin to think that those are the things that you need in order to help people out of homelessness, but what actually happens is that a lot of those referrals are dead ends, and resources fall through.”
Home insecure men and women not only fill up the shelter, but are scattered on the blocks around the building as well. The staff at the task force believe CAP currently plans to try and relocate everyone to another shelter near by.
“There is a Jefferson shelter, which is over by the jail,” Harris said. “It’s not the size of this place, but it can handle 300, so we’re thinking that they’ll pull up some buses and ship them all over to this spot, and continue the case management there.The whole staff expresses concern for what is to come of the shelter’s occupants, but continue to hold out hope that the city will come through.