Distinguished Panel Including Former City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin

On Tuesday, April 23, Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI) held its inaugural leadership gathering to discuss the past, present and future of homelessness in Atlanta. The event was an opportunity for leaders, advocates, and community members to come together and share insights and strategies to end homelessness in Atlanta and beyond.

Panelists included visionaries who have transformed how Atlanta supports people experiencing homelessness:

  • Shirley Franklin, Former City of Atlanta Mayor
  • Bruce Gunter, President of Civitas Housing Group, LLC
  • Chris Goode, Goode Van Slyke Architects

The conversation with this esteemed group was moderated by Emily Halevy, PCCI Board Chair and Coalition for a Diverse DeKalb Co-Founder.

Founded 25 years ago, PCCI is dedicated to its mission to permanently rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness into decent, affordable places to live and thrive. In April 2024, PCCI opened the doors of Thrive Sweet Auburn, a mixed-use, income-based housing development that is now home to more than 200 individuals – as well as the home to PCCI and a number of other wraparound service providers. Thrive Sweet Auburn is a national model for addressing homelessness, and already is being emulated in other areas.

Over the course of the morning, panelists conveyed messages of hope and determination. “PCCI has been at the forefront of solving homelessness in Atlanta for 25 years,” said Jimiyu Evans, PCCI Co-CEO. “Bringing these leaders together to address the past, present and future hopefully will serve as a valuable step in advancing our mission.”

PCCI Co-CEO Margaret Schuelke emphasized the importance of operational funding to support innovation and systemic change in Atlanta: “Accomplishing innovation – and sharing best practices to inform the ecosystem of support – can only be accomplished with adequate operational funding,” said Schuelke. “This is not the time to get complacent – this is the time for us all to dig deeper to accomplish long-term solutions to end homelessness.”

The event was hosted by Georgia Power and generously sponsored by Bank of America, The Home Depot, Mortgage Guarantee Insurance Corporation, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Inc., Emery & Associates, United Way Atlanta, Arnall Golden Gregory, Caring Works, The Cathedral of St. Philip, Jack Hardin, and Hammond & Associates.

About Project Community Connections, Inc.

For more than 25 years, Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI) has provided compassionate care with an expert’s eye, always working on the cutting edge of effective housing solutions, while never losing sight of the unique needs of each individual who walks through the door. PCCI employs a Housing First approach, by offering services without preconditions such as a family’s lack of employment or income, past criminal history, or addiction to alcohol or drugs. PCCI continues to operate with the wide, curious eyes of a new organization, but also with the benefit of clear hindsight. It is not just interested in investing in the individuals it serves, but also in communities as a whole.