Downtown Shelter Opens Coffee Shop on Peachtree Street
(APN) ATLANTA — The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, the largest homeless shelter in the Southeastern US located on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, has opened a coffeeshop, Blend, on its Peachtree Street entrance.
The coffeeshop is open from Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm.
Blend offers free Wi-fi to anyone with a laptop and can accommodate up to 220 people online [more than could fit in the space]. Coffee, water, cakes, and pastries are available, although there is no set price for any item. Blend asks that customers donate whatever they can.
“We have churches, synagogues, and mosques promising to bring pastries,” Jim Beaty, who manages the coffeeshop, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“You can’t purchase anything. You can come in and we simply ask if you’re able to, to give a donation,” Beaty said.
As previously reported by APN in 2006, the Task Force had put together a Master Plan for the redesign of the building which was to include the coffeeshop on the Peachtree Street entrance, as well as affordable housing in the upper floors of the building.
However, because the City of Atlanta engaged in a conspiracy with Central Atlanta Progress and others to sabotage the Task Force, the shelter’s funding fell through, including a loan which would have financed the Master Plan. A lawsuit regarding the conspiracy is currently proceeding through the discovery process.
Jim Beaty said he decided to open the coffee shop anyway, because he had seen the success of other coffee shops and because he said Task Force supporters had expressed enthusiasm about it at a recent photography exhibit.
One of the homeless men who lives at the shelter, named Grant, is one of about five artists who use the Task Force’s artist studio space to produce exquisite paintings. Grant is donating his time to help run the coffeeshop.
Beaty said that he hopes eventually enough donations will come in to help create a part-time income for some of the homeless men at the shelter. “Nobody’s paid for anything that’s done in here. We would love to.”
Blend is currently accepting donations of items needed to help run the operation including nicer coffee makers; more varieties of coffee; floor lamps; table lamps; small round tables; coat racks; refrigerators; garbage cans; and things like cups, napkins, and spoons.