Karson Brown, left, laughs as she prepares a meal during the annual Hosea Helps Thanksgiving dinner at the Georgia World Congress Center in 2017. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thanksgiving dinner to feed 400 homeless people in downtown Atlanta

Homeless residents of Atlanta will get a Thanksgiving meal courtesy of the city’s Public Defender’s Office.

The office is giving away 400 meals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Magic City Parking Deck located on 241 Forsyth Street, city officials confirmed. 

Director and Chief Public Defender Kenneth Days said the popular entertainment club offered the space to them.

Attendees will be treated to dinners from Kroger and a nearby church, Days said. The Fulton County HIV Mobile Clinic and representatives from the city’s pre-arrest diversion program will also be there. 

The office will also give away small, donated items such as socks, rain coats, hygiene items and medical kits — “ things that are needed when you’re outside,” said Colleen Higgins, a client advocate with the Public Defender’s Office said. 

“The whole idea is to invite them in and build rapport and trust,” Days said. Forty percent of the office’s work is outreach, he said. “It’s just as important, if not more, than handling a legal case.”


RELATED| 

Homeless population drops in Atlanta, but families may get overlooked

Homes for the homeless: Atlanta reaches goal of raising $50 million


The office holds legal clinics in the community and works with the Atlanta police H.O.P.E. program on homeless outreach, but this is the first time they’ve held a Thanksgiving dinner in their community, which has a lot of homeless camps.  

Days said the dinner is a more proactive way of engaging with their clients, who are often arrested for quality of life crimes, homeless or suffer from mental illness.

“The more we can engage proactively with them, the more impact we can have in reducing recidivism,” he said. 

Atlanta’s homeless population has been a concern since the city closed Peachtree-Pine,the 28,500-square-foot shelter on 477 Peachtree Street. At one point, roughly 500 men slept at the shelter. 

There are more than 3,000 homeless people in Atlanta on a given night, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

In August, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city reached its goal of raising $50 million to provide 550 homes for the city’s homeless population.


Like Intown Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter


In other news:

VIDEO: Learn more about metro Atlanta's bus and rail transit system in the AJC's "5 things to know" series.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X