Last winter, nearly a dozen people in the greater Atlanta area died of hypothermia from freezing temperatures, the majority of whom were homeless. When temperatures plummet, homeless Atlantans have limited options in finding a safe, warm space. Atlanta’s homeless population is estimated at roughly 3,000, according to a January census report from the city, but even with the city’s and collaborator Partners for Home’s emergency warming facilities combined, there are less than 500 beds or cots available to people who have nowhere else to go.
When the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the City of Atlanta opens up the Old Adamsville Recreation Center—at 3404 Delmar Lane near the western meeting of Interstate-20 and the I-285 Perimeter—as an emergency warming center. And thanks to Partners for Home, a nonprofit that’s part of the Continuum of Care network, when the temperature is below 40 degrees, downtown’s Salvation Army opens up beds in its warming center for 30 men, 10 women, and two or three families.
In 2014, under then-Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration, a handful of police and fire stations around town offered space for people out on the streets when temperatures dropped below freezing. It’s unclear if that will be happening this winter. An APD spokesman did not respond to a question about the department’s outreach efforts. Some homeless advocates, such as Marshall Rancifer, founder of the Justice for All Coalition, say the city’s Adamsville center is too far away from the significant homeless population in downtown Atlanta. Rancifer estimates the unsheltered homeless population—people who can’t or won’t access shelters or find a friend to house them—teeters around 700 people. Cathryn Marchman, executive director of Partners for Home did not respond to multiple emails and calls requesting comment.
But as Christmas approaches and temperatures are again expected to hit lows near freezing this weekend, here are the warming shelter options currently available in Atlanta. Please note that availability is subject to change.
At 40 degrees or below:
- Can take 30 men, 10 women, 3 families
- The facility opens at 9 p.m., although referrals are accepted as soon as 5 p.m.
- Call 404-486-2718 in advance
- Overflow bedding for 100 people between the ages of 18 and 24
- Can hold 20 families
At 35 degrees and below:
Old Adamsville Recreation Center, 3404 Delmar Lane (Note: 32 degrees and below)
- Can take 100 men, 35 women, 10 families
- Beginning around 5 p.m.
- Can take 35 men and 10 women
- Beginning at 7:30 p.m.
- Has 50 cots for men
- Cots may be requested in-person, beginning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Can take nine women
- Beginning at 8 p.m.
- Can take five women
- Beginning at 4:30 p.m.
- Can take 10 men
- Beginning at 4:30 p.m.
- Can take 20 single women
- Beginning at 4 p.m.
- Has 10 cots for single women
- Intake starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Atlanta Day Shelter (404-599-4007)