Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says Peachtree Pine homeless shelter tolerated for too long

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called for the closing of the Peachtree and Pine homeless facility on Tuesday during a luncheon talk to members of the Commerce Club.

“We are really going to have to take on this issue around Peachtree and Pine,” Mayor Reed said. “Peachtree & Pine and the behavior that goes on around it has been going on for too long.”

Reed said he came to that conclusion when he was contacted by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and told about the health issues related to the building – a longtime source of consternation in Atlanta’s business and civic circles.

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The Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter has been controversial for years (Photos by Maria Saporta)

“Peachtree and Pine is one of the leading sites for tuberculosis in the nation,” Reed said while recalling his meeting with CDC officials. “They laid out how tuberculosis cases, not in Georgia, but across America, are being traced back to Peachtree & Pine. I’m using today as a moment. It has been tolerated for too long.”

Reed said he plans to build a “best-in-class” facility for the homeless to serve the 300 to 400 people who currently stay at the Peachtree and Pine building, which is being operated by the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

The mayor also said he would locate a police and fire station on the property, which he said he would acquire through eminent domain.

The Task Force currently is in the middle of several lawsuits to stay in the building, which it no longer owns. It has claimed that there has been a conspiracy on the part of the Atlanta business, civic and city leaders to put the provider out of business.

Steven Hall, the attorney who has been representing the Task Force, took issue with the mayor’s comments – saying that Peachtree-Pine “has fully implemented all of the recommendations from the CDC” to control the spread of tuberculosis.

Contrary to the mayor’s comments, Hall said that the Task Force is the only shelter to meet those recommendations, that the recent outbreaks of “active TB in Atlanta have not been identified as coming from the Task Force.”

Hall went on to say that the Task Force has been having to fight “statements intended to defame the Task Force with inaccurate health concerns in order to pursue another agenda.”

 

 

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Another view of the Peachtree-Pine center – this one of the back part of the building at the corner of Courtland

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And another view of the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

35 replies
  1. Mark Albers says:

    I’m skeptical the motives are as noble as presented. I’m sure the redevelopment of the Civic Center has absolutely nothing to do with it.Report

    Reply
  2. Mary Duncan Teske says:

    Attached is Mayor Shirley Franklin’s “paid” study to end homelessness in 10 years. (That was from 2003). http://www.hmissummit.net/coc/10%20Year%20Plans/AtlantaGA.pdf Remember Mayor Reed’s campaign to remove 100 homeless veterans off the street into housing? Where are they now? How did that 3 million dollar grant get spent? http://bit.ly/1J2Ch9V I sincerely hope he keeps his word to build a state of the art facility. Anyone who has ever served a meal or handed out clothing in the parking lot across the street understands the depth of the problem. When you ask someone how long they have been living at the shelter and they respond, “8 plus years,” you know there is a huge deficit in services. Anita Beaty has been financially rescued several times. Therefore, throwing money at the problem just to house bodies in the building is not the answer! Clearly there is an absence of partnering agencies, social services and comprehensive healthcare at the Metro Atlanta Task Force for Homelesness that transitions residents back into society. However, let’s not use TB as a the issue when there is a hospital right next door! If this was local governement’s true intent, an alarm should have been sounded long ago! Why now? Location, location, location!Report

    Reply
  3. Samantha Williams says:

    I was referring to the mayor eyeing the civic center as a tear down for relocating the Hawks to a newer facility. This property is close enough to be targeted as part of this project. I just have a lot of snark in me about our fearless leader. 🙂Report

    Reply
  4. John Wolfinger says:

    I agree with you Mark – the civic center redevelopment plans have something to do with this sudden interest from Reed. This mess has been festering for years and there have been untold hundreds of e-mails to Reed urging a solution.. Then a billionaire Hawks owner comes on the scene and suddenly Reed is interested in taking some action.Report

    Reply
  5. Greg says:

    I really don’t understand this issue. How can you occupy a privately owned building, not pay the legal owners a cent, not pay utility bills or anything else, create a public health and safety hazard and continue to be protected by the court? I’m I missing something here?Report

    Reply
  6. Burroughston Broch says:

    Arthur Blank, Tyler Perry, or another FOK may want the Peachtree & Pine building.
    Perhaps His Dishonor will house the homeless on the part of Fort McPherson that Tyler Perry didn’t buy.Report

    Reply
  7. Akaziaj Hunt says:

    Doesn’t hurt that the building is sitting on prime real estate that developers have been wanting to get a hold of for years. Well at last it will be declared a public health hazard and condemned. Atlanta Task Force for the homeless fought the good fight.Report

    Reply
  8. Stuart Alan Jackson says:

    Take a good look at the Forms 990 filed over the years for this non-profit, then you can see why people stopped donating to them. There are many other outreach programs in the city that have succeeded in getting people off the street. They have nobody to blame but themselves.Report

    Reply
  9. Na Anderson says:

    Other agencies have attempted to create more properly run shelters and support services, that actually helped people, for years, but Peachtree Pine has wasted their resources with endless litigation, despite the fact that PP is a complete failure and does nothing but enable misery. Homeless people who go to the Open Door community in our neighborhood will stay out in the cold in winter versus going to Peachtree Pine, it’s so unsafe and horribly managed. The sooner this place is closed and resources can actually be used to help the homeless into better, stable situations, instead of pointless, ego driven litigation by the Beatys, the better. Anyone defending this place has not looked at how horribly it is actually run. Yes, we need solutions, but this place is not it. It’s simply diverting and wasting resources, year after year, that could have been used to genuinely help people.Report

    Reply
  10. Na Anderson says:

    This is a bogus argument. We have a shelter in our nearby neighborhood in Va. Highlands, that actually helps people and works with the community to find solutions. They aren’t being driven out because of property values, because they actually do a good job. People living, working and invested in the intown areas, want real solutions that help the homeless, but Peachtree Pine doesn’t offer anything close to solutions to help those in need. They are diverting and wasting resources that could go to real programs, that actually help people find longterm, stable housing and help, with their mismanagement and litigation. Open Door and the Union Mission don’t have these problems, because they actually know what they are doing and help people, not cause more trauma like PP does. The place is a travesty. Go there for one day, and you’ll see.Report

    Reply
  11. Richard K Straut says:

    Why is it the city that must deal with it? Once again politicians don’t solve problems. they create an issue to keep the problem in order to keep getting elected.As long as its left up to city hall it won’t get fixed and the homeless will continue to roll in filth. If that was your family member living on the street would you allow it? No. So whats been done? nothing! its the same now as it was 15 years ago. The current operator refuses to acknowledge a problem exists. She says we just give unconditional love. Well if thats love I would sure like to see what she deems is hate…There are no programs. No rules. They are used by the local drug dealers as mules for a cut of the drug they just self medicate with alcohol and drugs. They are out in the weather 24-7-365. We have tried arresting them, Referring them to social services at Gateway. They are uninterested, but it only gets worse. The local churches bring in meals 5 times a day so it only perpetuates the situation. There must be a public and private solution together that includes rehabilitation and treatment. Many are mental patients that are not violent so they are not worthy of being in an institution. There was a plan to move them to the lucky Street salvation Army but that did not materialize. We only found 3-5 confirmed veterans and they were given housing at the imperial…the rest lied about it. We discovered Chicago was giving their inmates a 1 way ticket to Atlanta with a meal after serving their sentence. So we are having an influx daily.Report

    Reply
  12. Carl Holt says:

    I would think land values are too high for the city to buy a large property. Wherever it’s put, it needs to be a good neighbor and become part of the neighborhood.Report

    Reply
  13. Chad Carlson says:

    How is that the city council, a few months ago, was bullied into a vote on the sale of Ft. McPherson with threats from the Mayor about now or never, and no opportunity for public input, and yet now he is waiting for the highest and best price on the Civic Center?Report

    Reply
  14. dtATLguy says:

    This would be a reasonable action welcomed by downtown workers and residents (which I am).  The cat-calling, jay-walking and general  harassment  by those loitering at the Courtland intersection is a daily testament to the failure of the shelter to constructively assist its clients.  Time to do something that may actually positively impact while cleaning up this gateway to downtown.Report

    Reply
  15. Kay Stephenson says:

    Everyone has known for years Dorothy, but there hasn’t seemed to be the will to shut it down. Given how the Mayor has forced through other initiatives he wanted (Fort MacPherson and the stadium deal) I have to believe he could have had it shut down at any time in the past several years. It will be interesting to see if this is just more rhetoric, and if something does happen, who benefits.Report

    Reply
  16. Anikka mendoza says:

    That neighborhood isn’t safe at all Its a drug & crime infested place and no one should have to be there : the building is also unsafeReport

    Reply

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