Photo by Image Alleviation

Atlanta Homelessness Update

Accounting for seven percent of the general youth population, young LGBTQ people are overrepresented in Atlanta’s homeless population.

Covenant House Georgia reports that a staggering 40 percent of homeless youth in Atlanta identified as LGBTQ. Black/African American people are also disproportionately experiencing homelessness, making up 48 percent of Atlanta’s resident population and 83 percent of its unhoused population.

The Trevor Project found that nearly 4,600 young LGBTQ people experienced homelessness or housing instability after being kicked out of their homes. Transgender and nonbinary youth respondents were affected at disproportionately higher rates compared to their cisgender LGBTQ peers.

Homelessness and housing instability greatly impact mental health and people often report high rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. The majority of homeless and housing insecure LGBTQ youth are unable to treat ongoing mental health issues due not only to lack of access in the form of transportation and cost, but also uncertainty that their identity will be respected by a health care provider.

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago found that young LGBTQ people are 120 percent more likely to face homelessness compared to their peers, a phenomenon that demands intersectional attention and change.

Atlanta’s homeless population continues to grow along with the city’s resident population, which is expected to reach 7.9 million by 2050, and Georgia’s minority and LGBTQ populations will be disproportionately affected without systemic intervention.

The end of January signals the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count, providing the most comprehensive census for the country’s homeless population. The 2023 report from Partners for HOME found that 2,679 people were unhoused across 243 neighborhoods in DeKalb and Fulton counties, an increase of 1.3 percent from 2022.

Mayor Andre Dickens has been an active participant in the battle against homelessness in Atlanta since he took office in 2022. In his annual State of the City address on March 25, Dickens announced his goal to create 20,000 affordable housing units by 2030.

Rent is down 5.4 percent compared to last year, averaging $1,555 per month for a 764-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, but housing is becoming increasingly competitive for all with Atlanta’s growing population, as 145,000 people moved to the city or surrounding metro areas between 2021 and 2023.

“In our increasingly interconnected world, it is undeniable that what happens in your neighborhood impacts mine,” Dickens said in his address. “And the foundation of this change starts with housing.”

Toward that goal, the city has built or begun construction on over 9,000 units, including a plan that transforms shipping containers into short-term housing. Despite investing state and federal funds heavily in affordable housing projects across the state, homelessness has increased 4.4 percent since 2020.

The short-term solution addresses immediate needs in Atlanta, but the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts says a statewide response is necessary after $549 million in federal funding was spent between 2018 and 2022.

United Way of Central Georgia is using a smartphone app from Simtech Solutions, a Massachusetts-based technology company, called Show The Way. United Way Executive Director Jake Hall believes the app’s human-centered design will encourage a more compassionate response to our unhoused neighbors.

“Some communities don’t admit that they have a problem serving people who are housing insecure, or they don’t want to deeply invest in homelessness services, sometimes out of fear that it will have a magnetic effect or draw people to those services,” Hall said. “And I think all of those are misguided responses to the human needs in our midst.”

Covenant House Georgia offers small ways for people to support homeless youth, from offering tax incentives on donations to registering your Kroger Plus card in support of the organization’s mission (at no cost to you). To learn more about how you can support Covenant House, visit

Partners for HOME offers supportive services for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability. To learn more, call 211 or visit Young LGBTQ people in need of assistance are encouraged to contact Covenant House Georgia at the Youth Direct Line: 404-713-0954 or