For many Atlantans, the closure of the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter, which began the process of shutting down late last month, signaled more than just the end of a 20-year effort to provide low-barrier emergency housing to almost anyone in need. The shelter’s end, brought about after a prolonged campaign from the City and other parties, was also a symbol to our most vulnerable residents that our capacity to care for and about people in need had reached its limit.
But symbols, like appearances, can be deceiving.
The will to combat homelessness hasn’t been diminished, but it has evolved, as activists, organizations and people who just give a damn find new ways to solve the problem — and by fighting ancillary issues like gentrification, displacement, unemployment and racism.
And this renewed spirit to discover new ways to tackle old issues is being applied to other areas of interest across the city: from organizations helping at-risk folks navigate the justice system to legislators pushing for holistic answers to health problems to startup businesses in search of affordable operating models. These are the types of problem-solvers we’ve chosen to recognize in the Cityscape portion of this year’s Best of Atlanta. In doing so, hopefully, we can help drive home the idea that revolutionary adaptation is the true sign of what’s to come for Atlanta.
— Carlton Hargro