Help Atlanta's Homeless Population Find Purpose and Freedom Through the Benefits of Work
Chronic homelessness is a snare individuals struggling with substance abuse disorder fall into, especially for veterans. In Atlanta, 21 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans. These men carry heavy burdens inside and outside of themselves, from dependence on handouts, drugs, and alcohol to mental health and criminal records. Unemployed and despondent, the chronically homeless are plunged into the dark depths of poverty with little hope of resurfacing.
At Georgia Works!, the team believes in the power of work to transform a person's life, instill a sense of purpose, and return an individual's dignity. The program provides transitional housing where participants stay for up to one year and disavow all dependencies on addictive substances. Georgia Works! employs the men and provides case management, job readiness training, and life skill coaching through mentorship and community. The goal of the program is threefold: for its graduates to be employed full-time, find independent housing, and never be dependent on substances again.
Georgia Works! has been able to move the needle significantly with Atlanta's chronic homelessness conditions. The organization's promise "If a man is committed to being clean, to addressing the past, and to working, we will help him get a full time job, transportation, and permanent housing within a year" is a promise well-kept. As of this year, a total of 600+ men have graduated from the Georgia Works! Program. A significant 90 percent of graduates are now in contact with their children and families and make an average of $12 an hour upon hire.