Atlanta Mission COVID-19 Response

by Atlanta Union Mission Corporation
Atlanta Mission COVID-19 Response
Aug 12, 2020

Thank You from Atlanta Mission


Atlanta Mission COVID-19 Response (46407)


Atlanta Mission strives to be a beacon of hope in uncertain times for those facing homelessness. Since March, because of COVID-19, we have all been asked to return and stay in our homes. But what if you didn't have a home? We are that home for those who have no home. As one of the leading providers of homeless services in our region, Atlanta Mission is on the frontlines of caring for those who have no home in which to shelter-in-place. We are humbled and grateful for the support of the Ford Fund and GlobalGiving, which assisted us in being home for those experiencing homelessness in Atlanta. We are pleased to present you with this report of our activities for our recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, including the impact of COVID-19 to our services. 


Organizational Achievements

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Atlanta Mission was focused on increasing our capacity and improving client outcomes. Key organizational achievements include the following:  

·         Despite construction cost increases, we have nearly reached our fundraising goal for the Giving Hope and A Future campaign, and construction has begun on the new state-of-the-art low barrier shelter for women and children at our Ethel Street location, replacing the Atlanta Day Shelter and renamed Restoration House.  

·         In July of 2019, to improve long-term employment outcomes of our clients, we integrated a new vocational program, @Work, which is modeled after Cara, an agency in Chicago that attains 71% job retention rates for their clients. In its first year, @Work added 17 employment partners and served 50 clients. 60% of clients participating in @Work obtained employment and 69% have retained their jobs.  

·         Our Transformation Model for service delivery has now integrated four program phases: Find Hope, Choose Help, Make Progress, and Sustain & Grow. Each phase offers clients additional personalized services to meet their needs so they can transform their lives from homelessness to hope.  


Client Primary Outcomes 


Rooted in Community- creating healthy relationships with friends, family, and community


Obtained Employment


Ended Homelessness with safe, stable, and permanent housing


Outcomes and Metrics

Atlanta Mission provided emergency shelter and supportive services to 4,391 men and women, and 1,340 children in FY20. We provided 513,583 meals and 219,680 bednights for those who came to our doors for assistance. There were 2,748 classes and clinical groups offered for our friends to improve their life skills, relationships, recovery, and vocational skills. In addition, 2,362 clients, including 54 children, took advantage of one-on-one sessions with our dedicated ambassadors, advocates, social workers, and counselors.


COVID-19 Impact

As Atlanta Mission cares for those experiencing homelessness amidst concerns of COVID-19, the health and safety of our staff and clients remain our top priority. We are continuously taking proactive measures with full adherence to CDC and DPH guidelines, updating protocols as our state and city begin reopening. Throughout this crisis, the focus of our programs and services remains basic emergency needs:  meals, shelter, childcare, facility sanitation, client education and screenings, security, and maintenance. To minimize the potential for infection on campus, from March through May we paused new client intake and limited clients leaving and re-entering campus to those with medical appointments. All clients are screened when they return to campus. With the closure of schools coupled with loss of employment for many, our clients reside on our campuses all day; this has resulted in increases in the numbers of meals served, childcare, and the overall use of utilities and our facilities. In adherence with CDC recommendations concerning social distancing, we suspended all volunteering on our campuses for the duration of the pandemic. This has hindered our ability to offer consistent levels of some programs/services, since volunteers increase our service capacity. 


We are serving hundreds of individuals who currently reside in our shelters and are taking an abundance of precaution in all areas in accordance with CDC and DPH guidelines as we gradually re-open our services on all campuses. At the beginning of the pandemic in March, all high-risk staff, including those over the age of 60 and those with chronic health conditions, were shifted to working remotely if possible, or received paid leave. Staff with children at home due to school closures had the option to take paid leave until further notice. Several clients were hired as temporary workers during the pandemic, to assist in areas such as food service. Staff who were eligible to return to work were reintegrated back onto our campuses in early May, so we are now fully staffed. All working staff are provided with masks and gloves and we are deep cleaning our campuses daily while educating clients on proper hygiene and cleaning protocols.   


During the pandemic, our teams have performed exceptionally well to make our campuses safe and our clients feel special. Through June, our campuses were cleaned 756 times and temperatures were checked 47,787 times! Staff have created special celebrations and activities to support our clients: competitions and games, Juneteenth celebration, Mother’s Day, Easter, game days, and much more. Our staff ensured that some clients were able to connect with family through extra phone calls and web conferences, and they found special ways for clients to connect with services, even with staff off-site, through tele-conferencing classes and counseling or phone calls.   


Looking Ahead

We continue to screen each of our clients 2x per day for COVID symptoms. In early April, the CDC and Mercy Care came to our campuses to test all clients and we were fortunate that only four asymptomatic clients tested positive and were appropriately quarantined off-site. One of the doctors from the CDC said our shelters were among the safest places in Atlanta due to our early implementation of safety and sanitation procedures. Our safety measures have been extremely effective thus far, as our client infection rate was about 1%, compared with a recent CDC report showing shelters in Seattle and San Francisco with average infection rates of 17-66%. We are humbled and thankful that our efforts produced such a positive outcome. 


In May, we gradually allowed clients with jobs to return to work. As clients return to work, we are continuing to keep safety and security at the forefront. Limited client intake has resumed at each of our campuses, with all precautions taken, including isolating and testing new arrivals and continuing to follow all CDC guidelines for social distancing, masks, hygiene, and sanitation. We have begun to bring back certain volunteers who are able to support our needs for virtual class instructors, off-campus logistical support and other activities that can be done remotely or from their own homes. We continue reviewing our protocols and services, judging when it is appropriate to resume the full range of transformational services to our friends.  


Atlanta Mission leadership, staff, and clients are confronting these challenging days as a community united, bound by our commitment to those we serve and our care for one another. We are incredibly grateful for the support of donors like you.


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Organization Information

Atlanta Union Mission Corporation

Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ATLmission
Project Leader:
Toni Dixon
Atlanta, GA United States
$13,633 raised of $25,000 goal
89 donations
$11,367 to go
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