Athens News Matters for October 14, 2023
In August 2021, Athens Clarke County commissioners voted to create a sanctioned homeless encampment on county property on Barber Street.
Over the next months, the encampment was not without controversy. Its executive director was convicted of multiple counts of battery following a fistfight at the site, and that same executive director was also accused of sexual harassment.
But the encampment has also had successes. As of late August, the camp had served 330 people. 16% have moved on to permanent housing, and another 14% to transitional housing. The encampment was never intended to be a permanent solution, and earlier this month, commissioners approved a plan to shut down the camp and use hotel vouchers to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness.
Fred Smith, executive director of the East Athens Development Corporation, joined Alexia Ridley to talk about the encampment and the way forward.