Settlement Likely Imminent, Task Force Shelter Expected to Close
(APN) ATLANTA — The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, the largest homeless shelter in the U.S. Southeast, and an overflow shelter serving thousands of homeless men each year, is set to close, if a settlement offer is accepted by Fulton County Superior Court, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
The settlement involves a payment of 9.7 million dollars to the Task Force and the Task Force turning over the Peachtree Street property by abandoning its legal claims of quiet title, according to several sources.
The property would no longer be used as a shelter, and would likely be used or sold for development.
It is APN’s understanding that the settlement has already been signed by the parties.
APN previously reported that a settlement was close late last year; however, the parties were not able to reach an agreement at that time and, in particular, because one of the defendants was holding it up.
The case was supposed to head to trial, but the settlement talks have continued since that time.
As previously reported by APN, several persons and entities including Central Atlanta Progress, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Manny Fialkow, the City of Atlanta, Emory University, and others conspired to sabotage the shelter over a period of several years. The City was dismissed as a party because of sovereign immunity.
The Task Force has been in court, with legal assistance from the Baker Donelson law firm, for several years, and the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that the Task Force had valid legal arguments and sufficient evidence to take to a jury trial.
The Task Force–which once received and disbursed federal funds to the Atlanta continuum of care–is now a shadow of its former self.
Anita Beaty, who founded and headed the organization, and kept it running with no staff and for no salary for years, retired as Executive Director at the beginning of January 2017.
Most of the Task Force’s Board Members, including Joe Beasley, Jim Beaty, and former Councilwoman Myrtle Davis, have resigned.
The remaining Board includes Executive Director Carl Hartrampf, Prof. Chuck Steffen, and Jerry Farber.
Due to Atlanta’s current zoning restrictions, the Task Force has argued for years there is nowhere else it could operate a shelter within the City of Atlanta.
After paying the attorneys, the Task Force would have little left over from the settlement to operate a shelter or even a drop-in community center, even if it could find a location to operate in Atlanta or elsewhere.
The City of Atlanta has identified no plan to house the current residents of the Task Force and does not appear to have caused new resources to materialize that would provide new shelter beds to replace the ones that would be lost.