In the spirit of the holidays, Atlanta Housing has been hard at work spreading holiday cheer. In our annual partnership with the Santa for a Day gifting program, AH was able to fulfill the holiday wish lists of more than 1,500 AH-assisted children.
AH’s Senior Leadership team also pulled together to bring gifts, toys, and holiday decorations to one particular AH-assisted family, who experienced quite a traumatic year of events.
The past few years have proven to be a challenging period for many families. And in 2021, continued pandemic concerns and rising eviction rates left many families teetering between distress and devastating hardship. Tim and his wife Tammy* were among the families who experienced the latter.
In July 2021, the young parents of six children—all under the age of 6 years old, including a 3-week-old newborn—suddenly found themselves facing the frightful scenario of homelessness.
Amid a raging pandemic and several hundred miles away from their out-of-state support systems, the family had nowhere to go after they were told they couldn’t stay in the Atlanta residence they shared with a friend.
That’s when AH stepped in, initiating its Housing First Vouchers through an AH homelessness prevention program that provides assistance to those at risk and in need of permanent housing.
“Tammy was just three weeks out from delivering her baby. It’s unimaginable that this mother, who is still in postpartum recovery, her husband, her newborn, and other five young kids would have to experience the hardships of not having a place to live,” says AH SVP of Housing Choice Tracy Jones. “With eligible emergency funding, made available by HUD to support families and individuals affected by the pandemic, we were able to move quickly and find shelter for this family.”
AH staff wasted no time. While the family was temporarily housed in a hotel, they were assigned a case manager and given wraparound services to address the family’s unique needs. AH also connected them to healthcare resources to help support one of their children who lives with a disability and their infant who required emergency treatment for a life-threatening illness amid their housing transition. AH President and CEO Eugene Jones Jr., and Chief Operating Officer Terri Lee were also hands-on throughout the process.
In less than four weeks, the family of eight moved into their new four-bedroom home. They were also equipped with various donated items from diapers to car seats, and their new landlord kindly donated furniture at no cost.
“Atlanta Housing is dedicated to providing housing to those in need. But we don’t just stop there,” says Jones. “We care about the lives and future of those we serve. I say it all the time: I have a great staff. This is the kind of teamwork that helps us accomplish our mission and change lives.”
Tammy couldn’t be more grateful.
“I don’t know what I would have done for my family if it wasn’t for Atlanta Housing,” she says. “I have never met so many caring people that are willing to help.”
Touched by the family’s story, AH’s Senior Leadership gathered to make their season brighter with gifts and Christmas decorations. Today, the family now celebrates the holiday season in the comfort and safety of their own home.
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*Names have been changed to protect privacy.