“It gives the city the accountability it requires and it gives us the work that we need to have done on the building,” she said of the conditions.
January 16, 2020 Atlanta: Hosea Feed the Hungry CEO Elisabeth Omilami during an interview at a rental warehouse while renovations are being made to their existing location on Thursday, January 16, 2020, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton firstname.lastname@example.org
The organization purchased the building on Forrest Hills Drive in the Perkerson neighborhood in 2017, and began renovations in 2018.
Omilami said the organization has been operating in three different locations for the past year, paying $10,000 per month in rent while they wait for work on the 25,000-square-foot building to be complete.
It’s now about 70% complete and is estimated to cost $2 million once it’s finished. So far, the organization has raised $1.7 million to pay contractors but needs at least $300,000 more to finish the work.
RELATED|Atlanta's beloved Hosea Helps needs funds for building renovations
Known for giving hot meals to the homeless on holidays, the longtime Atlanta nonprofit formerly known as Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless was started in 1971 by Omilami’s father the Rev. Hosea Williams. At the time, the organization had 10 volunteers to feed needy Atlantans.
It has since morphed into an institution that focuses on providing a range of services for Atlanta residents, such as meals, medical services, voter registration, job placement. The organization helped 3,200 people at its Martin Luther King Jr. dinner Monday and delivered 2,600 meals to homes in metro Atlanta.
Omilami said the organization is in the process of developing a sustainable fundraising model for 2020.
“We need people to know that doing this work is very expensive and that it costs money,” she said.
In addition to the city’s contribution, councilmembers also donated an additional $23,500 taken from their individual discretionary funds. The councilmembers’ contribution will be earmarked to pay for programs, rather than the building fund.
01/14/2019 -- Atlanta, Georgia -- The exterior of the Hosea Helps headquarters in Atlanta's Perkerson neighborhood, Tuesday, January 14, 2020. This building, located at 2545 Forrest Hills Drive SW, will server as the organizations new headquarters once construction is completed. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Credit: Alyssa Pointer
Credit: Alyssa Pointer
Councilman Michael Julian Bond said it’s not uncommon for the city to step in and help charitable organizations in need of support.
“The city has the ability to do a donation and we’re done these types of things many times in the past over the city’s history,” he said, citing a $1 million grant given to the Atlanta Ballet in 2017.
Bond said in many cases the decision to support a nonprofit comes down to need.
“Whenever we’re taking care of an organization like this, we are by extension helping our fellow man and being our brother’s keeper, and that’s really at the core of what this is about,” he said.