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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) earlier this week launched a yearlong pilot program with HOPE Atlanta to find solutions for people that are homeless and taking refuge in rail stations.
HOPE Atlanta is a non-profit organization that offers housing, social services, substance abuse counseling and employment services.
MARTA’s program will pair two experienced HOPE Atlanta case managers with trained field protective specialists under the auspices of the MARTA Police Department. The outreach teams will work with unsheltered individuals they encounter on trains and at stations to pursue stable and supportive housing solutions.
The pilot was created in response to customer concerns about unsheltered individuals taking refuge in the transit system — an issue that has grown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and is compounded by the shortage of affordable housing options in Atlanta, MARTA officials said in a press release.
“We are committed to finding solutions that safeguard customers and employees while treating everyone with dignity and respect,” said MARTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Parker.
The teams will also coordinate with organizations focused on the region’s unsheltered population, including the Gateway Center, Partners for Home and the Regional Commission on Homelessness.