39 Days of IDEAS | Day 4: A full-service home for homeless families
When City of Refuge was gifted a large facility by philanthropist Malon Mimms, CEO Bruce Deel envisioned turning the space into a “one-stop shop” for families facing the crisis of homelessness. “Many of our clients were struggling to get the resources they need, because they had to visit many organizations, make multiple appointments, find funds for public transportation to get there, line up child care,” said Deel. His idea was to give their service population, primarily women and their children, a wrap-around suite of programs and providers in the same place they were residing.
The result is the City of Refuge Campus, a 210,000 square foot collaborative facility housing 300 women and children, three different day-care centers, an after-school program, an academy for middle and high school students, and offering vocational training, spiritual guidance, recreation, and case management, all provided by City of Refuge and partners like Bright Futures Atlanta and Feed My Lambs—plus a full-service health care facility, run by St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Services. “On one campus, a family has available to them all the tools they need to reach a place of self-sufficiency,” said Deel.
Now in its sixth year, the wrap-around residential program has served more than 3,000 people, and construction is underway on a new residence for pregnant teens and new teen moms, as well as an auto repair center to train veterans re-entering the workforce, those coming out of rehab or incarceration, and academy students interested in a vocational tech career.
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