The city of Atlanta is stepping up to help the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its meeting May 19, the council voted to approve legislation to ratify an executive order directing the city’s chief financial officer to allocate up to $1.5 million for nonprofit and philanthropic communities providing individual shelter options with supportive services for persons experiencing homelessness (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1332).

The legislation is in response to the outbreak, which represents a health risk to homeless individuals because of close-knit living environments, limited access to preventative measures and higher likelihood for underlying health issues.

The council also approved three other agenda items related to the coronavirus:

♦ Legislation authorizing the city to accept food and food service donations in support of its efforts to show appreciation and recognize its front-line employees working during the pandemic in a total not to exceed $20,000 through Dec. 31 (Legislative Reference No. 20-R-3914).

♦ Legislation authorizing the mayor or her designee to enter into contractual agreements with project sponsors in an amount not to exceed $33.3 million for services related to grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1331). The ordinance ratifies services that benefit the health, safety and welfare of residents included in the city’s 2015-19 consolidated plan, which covers grant funding from the Community Development Block Grant, the Emergency Solutions Grant, the HOME Housing Investment Partnership Program and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).

♦ A resolution requesting that the commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Transportation close select streets and/or traffic lanes, which are yet to be determined, to motorized vehicular traffic and open them to pedestrians and cyclists (Legislative Reference No. 20-R-3913). The legislation is aimed at safely shifting certain underutilized streets and traffic lanes for use by pedestrians and cyclists to provide residents with a greater ability to spend time outside and use the public right-of-way responsibly amid the pandemic.

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