10 Years of Changing Lives & Ending Homelessness:
The origins of Gateway Center are found in one of the 29 proposals developed by the predecessor of then Regional Commission on Homelessness. (RCOH) The Commission was formed by the United Way at the request of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2002 to provide her proposals for assisting persons experiencing homeless in Atlanta. The result was a Blueprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years. A major Blueprint recommendation was to establish a central point of care in metro Atlanta to meet the needs of the homeless in a systematic and supportive manner. To that end, the Commission oversaw the development of the Gateway Center, a self-managed 501(c)(3) organization that opened in 2005 as the primary portal in a continuum of care for metro Atlanta’s chronically homeless individuals.
The original plan proposal for Gateway was the intake, assessment and placement functions. Because our building has four floors and 110,000 square feet of space, a provider-community wide planning process was created to develop a consensus for how the extra space should be used. Out of this process developed our innovative community collaborative concept. Programs for veterans, pre-treatment for substance abuse, primary medical care, employment, mental stabilization, recuperative care could be co-located and operated by partner agencies.
The original plan for the opening was to open slowly in phases. However, one month to the day after the opening of the Gateway Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. By the end of September 2005, Gateway had hundreds of Katrina evacuees awaiting assistance with housing. This continued through the fall until the United Way’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors effort was able to place them in suitable housing. Shortly after the Katrina effort was able to be wound down, the community was hit with a wave of women with children seeking shelter. It is not clear what all the origins of this wave of women in need were, but due to the vulnerability of the population, Gateway decided not to turn any of them away. The Center was soon inundated. With the help of men in programs in the building, each night, mats with linens were placed on the main floor in the evenings which was closed to others for each evening.
The flow of women and children to seemed to become more or less permanent—rising and falling in numbers with the seasons. Gateway eventually decided that it was not the best facility to handle this overflow principally because of absence of day care limited the amount of and success of casework that could be done. In 2013, a partnership was created between Gateway and City of Refuge—an organization serving women and children in Atlanta for almost 20 years. That fall, Gateway permanently transferred the overflow of women and children to City of Refuge. This allowed Gateway to focus more on our men’s programs geared to address the underlying reasons for chronic homelessness: unemployment, addictions, mental illness or domestic abuse.
Today, Gateway provides over 330 places for men who enter into programs geared to address the underlying reasons for their homelessness. Gateway is filled to capacity nearly every day of the year and, including those who turn to us for point in time services (bathrooms, showers, laundry, clothing, storage, clinic …), we serve over 500 people every day. In the last 10 years, Gateway has seen over a thousand individuals transitioned out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Thanks to the incredible support of our community, Gateway Center has been able to have a real impact on the number of those experiencing homeless in Atlanta each year.
Silent Auction Preview
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The evening will be a celebration of Gateway Center’s ten years in operation—ending homelessness for many of the estimated 7,000 persons currently experiencing homelessness in metro Atlanta and changing their lives for the better.
Along with the great food, drink, and music, we will explore the ways in which Gateway Center has seen ten incredible years of lives shaped into self-sufficiency: off the streets and living in their own safe, affordable, and permanent housing.
Join us for a night to make new friends and connect with old ones, enjoy the amazing atmosphere of White Oak Kitchen, and to be a part of an inspiring group of leaders in our city who are working to see homelessness ended for each and every person who walks through Gateway Center’s doors.
What to Expect:
Great food + Tasty libations
Live bluegrass band + Fun photo booth
Silent Auction full of local experiences and beautiful art
Thoughtful commentary on the fight to end homelessness
A celebration of the amazing progress made since Gateway’s founding in July 2005
*The event is Cocktail Attire*
*100% of ticket sales will directly support GWC programs and services.*