Thrive Sweet Auburn is Open: What Happens Next?

In spring 2023, Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI) celebrated the grand opening of Thrive Sweet Auburn, the mixed-use, affordable housing development we built with partners on land we’ve owned for years in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

We reflected on what it took to get to the moment, expressed our gratitude for the countless people and organizations who made it possible, and cut the ribbon. And while it was surely exhilarating to mark the achievement after so many years of hard work, we are already writing the next chapter for Thrive Sweet Auburn and PCCI.

What’s Next for Thrive Sweet Auburn: Ensuring long-term sustainability

Thrive Sweet Auburn was designed to be a catalyst for change. During the months when the foundation was built, walls were constructed, and counters and carpets were installed, we were working with partners to plan how we are going to ensure the development is a sustainable, adaptable, and replicable ecosystem of support.

Now that the center is open, PCCI will spearhead implementing the holistic operational vision for the development. We will ensure that Thrive Sweet Auburn partners closely coordinate to address the needs of local people, avoid duplicating services and measure outcomes. This kind of coordination will allow for refinements in real time and help the partners find efficiencies and strategic opportunities to collaborate.

In addition to PCCI, the partners onsite at Thrive Sweet Auburn include:

  • Mercy Housing Southeast, which will manage the Thrive Sweet Auburn property and application process, ensuring people who live here meet the requirements set out among partners.
  • First Step Staffing which will provide residents with employment services, transportation to and from work, resource navigation to other support services, and “upskill training” so that residents have successful employment experiences.
  • Fulton County Permanent Supportive Housing Program will offer long-term supportive services to residents who have experienced chronic homelessness and may also be living with a mental illness. Case management and care coordination will be available to address obstacles to prevent a return to homelessness.
  • Open Hand will provide nutrition education classes and demonstrations for residents to support healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity.
  • Our House staff will perform health examinations and lab services as well as offer health education and access to medication. Nurse practitioners and care coordinators will work to identify health-related case management needs for clients and connect them to resources in the nearby community.

Together within these walls we will remove barriers so that people can experience a continuum of support designed to promote better outcomes, while also influencing the overall livability and vitality of the surrounding neighborhood. Thrive is located in the City of Atlanta, and local officials will be engaged to ensure alignment with other projects and programs and to support ongoing efforts at the site.

What’s Next for the PCCI: Leveraging Success to End Homelessness

Building from the success of Thrive, PCCI has established some ambitious plans for growth. With support from building tenants, existing funding programs, and corporate and individual donors, we specifically aim to:

  • Increase the availability of services, such as increasing funding for the health clinic inside Thrive to perform more services and operate for more hours;
  • Expand efforts such as our direct cash transfer program to boost people’s ability to establish stable homes; and
  • Share our experiences and lessons learned to inspire innovation to help people who are experiencing homelessness.

Already, we are hearing from people near and far who want to understand how Thrive Sweet Auburn can serve as a model to replicate. We hope to give countless tours, present at scores of professional convenings, talk to the media, and do everything we can to call attention to the unique elements of this development. It is through that transfer of knowledge and the continued support of local people, dedicated partners, public agency collaborators and bold philanthropists that together, our city, state and nation can make real progress toward ending homelessness.