Task Force prepares for move from Peachtree-Pine, next chapter

By Maggie Lee

With the closure of its Peachtree-Pine shelter, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless is moving, probably to the west side, and it’s going to be about services for people who find themselves homeless, said its executive director.

Carl Hartrampf, executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, said his organization is going to focus on services for people experiencing homelessness, and is looking for a new location. Credit: Maggie Lee

Carl Hartrampf, executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, said Wednesday at Cascade United Methodist Church his organization is transitioning out of the mass shelter service with the closure of Peachtree-Pine. Credit: Maggie Lee

Carl Hartrampf said the next chapter for the organization is coming out of the services that they’ve provided at the shelter.

“The real issue is the underlying causes that continually make people homeless,” he said.

So the vision includes helping clients access things like legal help, a GED or higher education, how to get health care, a home, a job.

He spoke about the plans Wednesday at Cascade United Methodist Church, at a luncheon held in honor of Task Force volunteers. He thanked volunteers from across the faith community and from civic groups for 30 years of help with those services.

Churches have always been the ground support for the Task Force, he said.

“We just want to celebrate that gift they’ve given to the men and to the Task Force. Because now we’re transitioning out of the mass shelter service into more defined counseling and guidance for the men,” said Hartrampf.

The Task Force is leaving the Peachtree-Pine location as part of a settlement in a yearslong legal battle. The Task Force accused the city and Central Atlanta Progress of conspiring to drive off donors to the last-resort shelter. The shelter has been a thorn in the side of the business community and of Mayor Kasim Reed, who has called it “awful,” and said there are rampant drug sales there and that it poses a health risk to the city. But its supporters say it meets the life-and-death needs of people who are on the streets.

Asked if this is the start of a new chapter with the city, Hartrampf said the relationship has changed.

“We’ve been through a traumatic period with the lawsuit. We settled that. We’re moving forward and that then allows us to have new relationships. We worked with the city in the past, we’ll work with them in the future and we’re very hopeful that that’ll produce more services for the people that find themselves on the street,” he said.

The Task Force hasn’t yet picked out a new location.

Longtime Task Force Board member Joe Beasley told the audience of about 50 folks that “I believe it’s a new day for the Task Force. We’re not finished yet.”

A poster promoting a recent Peachtree-Pine art exhibit. Credit: Kelly Jordan

A poster promoting a recent Peachtree-Pine art exhibit. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

1 reply
  1. Anonymous says:

    I recently had to leave Atlanta and my family because I lost my job and there is now no 24-7 emergency shelter in Atlanta now that the Task Force has closed. Atlanta is too big of a city not to have a 24-7 emergency shelter. There are probably still numerous people living in the shadows on the streets of Atlanta because the Task Force was closed with no immediate back-up plan in place. The homeless women, children, and men of Atlanta have been let down by the Atlanta city government and other Atlanta leaders. Other shelters in Atlanta will not take you back again if you have been through their program too many times before. Simply put, there are people living in Atlanta who have no place to go. Every city should have an emergency shelter at all times to house anyone who needs emergency shelter. Some shelters will only take you Monday through Friday during a designated 2 hour window. What about those who find themselves homeless at 9pm on a Saturday night or at 9pm on any given night? What do they do? Where do they go? God has allowed me to experience these things so that I can be a voice for the poor and needy in Atlanta. I am a native Atlantan and also a Christian missionary who has ministering inside of shelters for the past 12 years. Atlanta needs to move quickly to get vulnerable women and children off of the streets. Are women still sleeping on or near Northside Drive? This should not be in a city as rich as Atlanta. Atlanta ought to be ashamed of itself. Atlanta, a city I love, is failing its own people. Praying for Atlanta and the homeless community in Atlanta. People are having to move out of Atlanta to find shelter and that is sad.Report

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.