Stories

Founded in the early 1900s, HOPE Atlanta is the Metro’s most established agency dedicated to fighting homelessness. While times have changed, our approach has remained steadfast: to end homelessness, one individual at a time.

A personal tragedy and a downward spiral left him on the streets and ready to give up.
But it wasn’t the end of his story.

 A self-described “country boy” raised on a South Georgia farm, Kirby arrived in Atlanta seeking new opportunities with little to his name. Always hardworking and eager to learn, Kirby spent years working in asbestos removal and in construction labor pools, chasing his dream of one day operating heavy equipment.
Using his lunch breaks to learn how to work the machines, he would eventually become a bulldozer operator. His hard work had paid off, he was making good money, and he even met Lucretia—a charming woman who would become his wife and best friend. Life was good.
Then tragedy struck. Lucretia died suddenly of a heart attack at just 42 years old, sending Kirby into a downward spiral. Depressed and broken, he struggled to hold down a job and stay sober. He found himself living on the streets when he heard about HOPE Atlanta. Although Kirby was ready to give up, his wife’s memory inspired him to reach out for help.
“She wouldn’t want me to be like this. She would want me to go on with my life.”
Kirby’s first impression of his HOPE Atlanta caseworker? “She would always answer the phone. She never acted like I got on her nerves. She never looked down on me.”
HOPE Atlanta helped Kirby secure stable housing and later, permanent housing. Today, he’s clean, sober, and looking forward to the next chapter of his life (one that includes plenty of time spent fishing and hanging out with his 5 grandchildren).

A ‘u-turn’ and a new chapter for Kirby

HOPE Atlanta helped me do a U-turn,” he says. “If you want some help, and you are willing to help yourself, come to HOPE Atlanta.”

A ‘u-turn’ and a new chapter for Kirby

HOPE Atlanta helped me do a U-turn,” he says. “If you want some help, and you are willing to help yourself, come to HOPE Atlanta.”

A personal tragedy and a downward spiral left him on the streets and ready to give up.
But it wasn’t the end of his story.

 A self-described “country boy” raised on a South Georgia farm, Kirby arrived in Atlanta seeking new opportunities with little to his name. Always hardworking and eager to learn, Kirby spent years working in asbestos removal and in construction labor pools, chasing his dream of one day operating heavy equipment.
Using his lunch breaks to learn how to work the machines, he would eventually become a bulldozer operator. His hard work had paid off, he was making good money, and he even met Lucretia—a charming woman who would become his wife and best friend. Life was good.
Then tragedy struck. Lucretia died suddenly of a heart attack at just 42 years old, sending Kirby into a downward spiral. Depressed and broken, he struggled to hold down a job and stay sober. He found himself living on the streets when he heard about HOPE Atlanta. Although Kirby was ready to give up, his wife’s memory inspired him to reach out for help.
“She wouldn’t want me to be like this. She would want me to go on with my life.”
Kirby’s first impression of his HOPE Atlanta caseworker? “She would always answer the phone. She never acted like I got on her nerves. She never looked down on me.”
HOPE Atlanta helped Kirby secure stable housing and later, permanent housing. Today, he’s clean, sober, and looking forward to the next chapter of his life (one that includes plenty of time spent fishing and hanging out with his 5 grandchildren).

‘I was the
face of hopelessness’

Had HOPE Atlanta not come into the picture, I wouldn’t be here. You breathe fresh air into a person’s life who can’t even breathe anymore.

How JoAnn found the help she needed to overcome depression, beat her addiction,
and finally believe her life was worth fighting for

Growing up in Brooklyn (the eighth of eleven children), JoAnn was a born athlete, a dreamer, and a voracious reader. But her beloved romance novels ended up being a far cry from her own story, where she was impregnated at 15 by a much older man who would also introduce her to heroin.
Against the odds, JoAnn held down a job for years and studied psychology at a community college—until a series of tragedies (including the death of her infant daughter from SIDS) became too much to bear. She sold all her belongings and headed south, looking for a fresh start. When the money ran out, she found her self stranded in Atlanta.
She was on the streets and suffering from severe depression and addiction when HOPE Atlanta’s outreach team found her.
JoAnn’s caseworker worked tirelessly to provide the resources JoAnn needed to get back on her feet—from mental healthcare and rehabilitation to stable housing and even furniture. When JoAnn discovered she would be reunited with her beloved granddaughter, Shy-Anne, HOPE Atlanta even transitioned them to a larger 2-bedroom apartment. Today, JoAnn is back on her feet. She has even discovered a new hobby: standup comedy.
She tearfully recounts how HOPE Atlanta’s caring team helped her turn her life around for good:
They made me believe that people are good, truly good. I was worth fighting for. HOPE Atlanta gives life, and I’m the living proof.

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