Atlanta Mayor Dickens Orders Cops Not to Issue Citations to Unhoused, Despite Supreme Court Ruling

Atlanta’s mayor Andre Dickens is vowing to protect unhoused persons in the city despite the recent US Supreme Court ruling that allows cities to ticket people for sleeping outside. Dickens, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, said that in Atlanta there would be no such citations issued and that he and the city continue to focus their efforts on more humane and long-term solutions for Atlanta’s unhoused.

The justices determined Friday that such ordinances do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment.

In his statement, Dickens emphasized that “falling on hard times is not a crime” and advocated for directing resources toward initiatives like the Melody, which supports unhoused individuals rather than penalizing them.

The Melody, a temporary single-room occupancy development located in south downtown Atlanta houses up to 40 tenants in studio-style units made up of donated shipping containers. Each unit features a bathroom, bed, and kitchenette,

Not only has the mayor worked diligently with government agencies along with for-profit and non-profit partners to develop and implement more creative housing solutions, like the Melody Apartments, a complex of shipping containers to provide permanent mixed-income housing. Deploying Rapid Housing units at the property allows the administration to address the pressing need for housing for residents experiencing homelessness while preserving the opportunity to fully redevelop the site in the future. 

“Each and every Atlantan deserves a place to call home and our Administration understands the sense of urgency to stabilize individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our city,” said Mayor Dickens. “Any one of us are just one bad day away from finding ourselves needing a hand-up to get back on our feet. Working with our partners and City Council, and using a little innovation, we will swiftly deploy these resources to give folks the support they need and deserve.”

During his tenure, Dickens has pledged to construct 20,000 affordable housing units in eight years. He said they’ve already built 3,000 and are in the planning phases of another 5,000.

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