Peachtree-Pine set to close

The long-standing low-barrier homeless shelter braces for its end

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The city's largest homeless shelter will soon close, announced Central Atlanta Progress on June 23. There has been talk of closing the shelter for years, including the city of Atlanta's mention of using eminent domain to shut it down. The closure is the result of the settlement in a years-long legal battle, in which the Metro Atlanta Task Force was granted a jury trial by a judge to hear claims of several parties, including Central Atlanta Progress, conspiring to sabotage funding for the shelter. The Task Force's lawyers settled prior to the trial date, which was not scheduled but previously expected to take place this month.The settlement between the Task Force and Central Atlanta Progress, city officials and other parties is said to include a $9.7 million payment to the Task Force in exchange for the organization handing over the 100,000-square-foot building at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets to Central Atlanta Progress. When asked how the closure of Peachtree-Pine will impact the city, including residents experiencing homelessness, the city had no comment.The building, bought and donated to the Task Force in 1997 by Coca-Cola heiress Ednabelle Wardlaw, is the largest homeless shelter in the Southeast. It's expected to close at the end of August, and the hundreds of people it's serving will be transferred to other shelters around the city, [http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govtpolitics/update-jefferson-place-shelter-reopen-take-peachtree-pine-men/9o0a7LgUSZhm0g5UlzvuYM/|officials told the ][http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govtpolitics/update-jefferson-place-shelter-reopen-take-peachtree-pine-men/9o0a7LgUSZhm0g5UlzvuYM/|AJC] something that's to be done "in a humane manner," said the Central Atlanta Progress press statement.Jack Hardin, co-chair of the United Way's Regional Commission on Homelessness, says this is a win for individuals experiencing homelessness. "We have not had access to the population at Peachtree-Pine to offer our services. ??_ Now that the litigation is settled, we expect complete cooperation from its management," Hardin says. "We plan to send in our outreach workers to assess the needs of the population there. ??_ We will offer services to everyone affected by the closing.?۝For all the various entities' money spent on homelessness, a major lack of "low-barrier" beds accessible to anyone, regardless of substance abuse, mental health issues or otherwise, remains and very well may be exacerbated by the loss of Peachtree-Pine. But Hardin says they "are planning to have additional low-barrier capacity in place in the coming months." To this end, the AJC reported June 23 that Fulton County plans to reopen Jefferson Place, a 150-person-capacity shelter closed in 2014, to offer beds for men who were staying at Peachtree-Pine."I do not believe that it will be necessary to duplicate the capacity on a one-for-one basis as I am confident that we will be able to place most of the individuals in other programs designed to end their homelessness," Hardin says. "The shelter strategy is designed to be a short-term interim step in helping, not an end point in the process.?۝

It's not been said what will become of the building other than that it will no longer be used as a shelter. But Emory University, one of the parties named in the Task Force's lawsuit, is reportedly interested in acquiring the property.

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Spider for Peachtree-Pine set to close