Six months after its grand opening, a multifaceted Sweet Auburn complex with homeless support services that’s been called a first for Atlanta is notching one success story after the next, with an eye on scaling up the concept elsewhere, project officials report this week.

Having replaced a one-story commercial building at 302 Decatur Street where Project Community Connections Inc. operated for decades, Thrive Sweet Auburn is a mix of relatively affordable housing and a “one-stop shop” for Atlanta’s homeless community in need of services and expert help. There’s also an onsite coffee shop called Spreading the Health Café.

Thrive Sweet Auburn reps say, six months since its ribbon-cutting, “one of Atlanta’s most ambitious developments to support homeless services” has vetted and placed nearly 200 families and individuals as building residents. Waitlist applications are still being accepted. 

Thrive Sweet Auburn's location just east of downtown at 302 Decatur Street SE. Google Maps

Thrive Sweet Auburn's Bell Street facade, with a vacant parcel beside the Connector next door. Courtesy of Thrive Sweet Auburn

With an iconic, Connector-facing Coca-Cola sign sprouting up from the middle of it, the building offers three residential floors with 117 apartments, ranging from studios to three-bedroom units.

According to project heads, 114 of those apartments have been filled to date, with 29 of them going to households with children for a total of 170 residents so far (and 25 military veterans among them).

All but two of 23 Permanent Supportive Housing units have been filled for people working their way out of homelessness, according to Thrive officials.

Beyond the apartments, Thrive Sweet Auburn features about 12,000 square feet of commercial space for organizations offering homeless support services, including help for job-seekers, a medical clinic, and the coffeehouse.

PCCI has operated on the corner since 1999 and has kept its headquarters on the first floor, alongside First Step Staffing offices and a community kitchen.

As of this week, more than 1,200 people have completed orientation at First Step’s offices, with nearly half having received a paycheck in the operation’s first six months.

Of those individuals, according to Thrive officials, 456 had recently experienced homelessness, while 484 were military veterans and/or previously incarcerated.

Inside Spreading the Health Cafe today. Courtesy of Thrive Sweet Auburn

Courtesy of Thrive Sweet Auburn

Mercy Housing Southeast, the project's developer, and PCCI opened the mid-rise facility in April on the eastern fringes of downtown, located about a block from MARTA’s King Memorial Station. Grady Memorial Hospital is down the street in the other direction.

Officials have told Urbanize Atlanta the Thrive Sweet Auburn facility falls under the category of “service-enriched housing,” offering not just a place to stay but medical services, onsite staffing, and the coffeeshop for socializing. Most units are reserved for residents earning 30, 50, or 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Other points of interest nearby include the Martin Luther King Natatorium, Selena S. Butler Park, Georgia State University, and Mercy Care’s expanded healthcare and housing complex on Gartrell Street.

Find more context and a closer look at Thrive Sweet Auburn today in the gallery above.


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