Choice Atlanta grants help 14 organizations revitalize the west side

By Sonam Vashi

More than a dozen organizations will receive microgrants to help revitalize west side neighborhoods through an Atlanta Housing program funded by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department.

Fourteen groups working on programs that will help Ashview Heights, Vine City, and the neighborhood around the Atlanta University Center received $50,000 in total to improve issues ranging from public safety to youth empowerment to arts and history, according to a press release.

Ashview Heights

A community garden in Ashview Heights along the Atlanta BeltLine. (Credit: atlantabeltlineblog.com)

Choice Atlanta, created through a HUD initiative, administered the grants, which are part of a larger plan to renew the area. That plan includes the recent redevelopment of the city’s former University Homes community, which last fall was replaced by the 588-unit Scholars Landing, putting the city back on track after it had been in danger of losing the $30 million Choice grant.

The 14 organizations receiving money implement programs like urban gardens, history preservation, and financial literacy. “This year, we are really excited to have had such competitive applicants and to have awarded microgrants to community-based businesses, nonprofits and civic groups with initiatives that promise to have such a positive impact,”  said Susan Evans, director of Choice Neighborhoods.

The grants were awarded to:

  • ADLT 101, which works with graduating seniors of Booker T. Washington High School to create a smooth transition to postsecondary life
  • Atlanta Small Business Training Consortium, which, through its Herndon Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Barber Mentor Program, will teach business skills, financial literacy, and barber techniques, as well as provide after-school mentorship for 10 students aged 12 to 16
  • Atlanta School of Modern Etiquette, which will develop a “Food Finder” app to help locate local farmers markets
  • Black Child Development Institute, which will create workshops for educators, staff, and parents of students at neighborhood early childhood learning centers to show how to assess and increase the literacy levels of children aged 3 to 6
  • Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, which will increase its memberships by recruiting from neighborhood schools for the Harland Boys & Girls Club and create programs focused on the arts
  • Doc B. C.A.R.E.S., which will start a campaign in pursuit of peace, nonviolent conflict resolution, and anti-bullying
  • MLK-Ashby Merchants Association, which will create MLK W.A.T.C.H., a public safety program along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
  • Morehouse Community Revitalization Initiative, which will work with a genealogist to teach 4th and 5th graders at M. Agnes Jones Elementary about genealogy, ancestry and DNA testing
  • Parent Avengers, which will help build its organization aiming to break the cycle of poverty by helping parents become more self-sufficient
  • Preserve Black Atlanta, which will celebrate the history of Atlanta University’s founders and faculty
  • Think Green, Inc., which will place two beehives at urban gardens, creating years of pollination and honey
  • Trellis Horticultural Therapy, which will create an educational gardening program and a culinary arts program focused on teaching youth about the production and preparation of organic food
  • West End Urban Garden, which will create workshops pairing seniors and youth to learn gardening and preparation of nutritious foods from different cultures
  • Young Adult Publishing, which will use book publishing to teach entrepreneurship and financial literacy among lower-income students aged 10 to 14

Sonam Vashi is a freelance reporter in Atlanta writing about affordable housing for Saporta Report. Her reporting, which usually focuses on criminal justice, equity, and the South, has also appeared with CNN, the Washington Post, Atlanta magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others. She is the vice president of the Atlanta chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, and she grew up in Gwinnett County.

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