You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

breaking news

2 Atlanta streets closed, Homeland Security called to mercury investigation

Atlanta men's shelter to close after over 30 years due to underfunding

A men's shelter in a bustling area of Atlanta will close Wednesday after more than 30 years of service.

The board of directors filed a motion to permanently close the Journey Men’s Shelter on Nov. 15, according to Executive Director Keryl Oliver. 

"The decision made by the Board was not an easy one, but it was the right one," Oliver said.

The shelter, located at 1026 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, opened in 1982 "as a mission of Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in response to the needs of homeless men" in the area, the website states.  Formerly called Druid Hills Night Shelter, it began as a seasonal shelter that admitted men on a first-come first-served basis. 

In recent years, though, the agency began operating year-round and offered a six-month program that provided residents with the resources to work toward independent living. 


Families First expansion opens in Atlanta’s Westside

Low turnout at Black Lives Matter protest at Roswell City Hall 


Oliver, who became executive director in January, said the main reason for the closure was a shortage of operational expenses funding. 

The organization is privately funded, with primary income sources coming from partner churches, individuals, grants from the city of Atlanta, United Way and private foundations.

"While we have been incredibly grateful for the support we receive, unfortunately, a good portion of the grant money that is awarded has restrictions attached such as ‘mandatory matching’ before it can be used; or a specific designation that prevents us from applying the funds toward general operating expenses," Oliver said. 

She added that many nonprofits face the challenge of "overcoming the perception that money not designated specifically for the cause or population it serves is money that is being wasted."

Oliver said the shelter operates with an annual budget of approximately $260,000 — or "the equivalent of one salary for a corporate executive" — money that had to cover the following:

  • Serve 55-60 men, including: shelter, clothing, food, hot showers, electricity, Wi-Fi, laundry, MARTA cards and other resources; 
  • Perpetual building maintenance/repair for an aging structure;
  • Supplies for the shelter, as well as office and computer supplies; 
  • Under-market salaries for one full-time director, one full-time shelter manager, a part-time case manager, a part-time volunteer relations manager, a part-time development consultant and an as-needed relief night manager. 

Current shelter resident Austin Millwood described Journey as "the most realistic opportunity available for someone who wants to become self-sufficient again," and 

said the closing of the shelter has made "a hard situation harder," according to Oliver. 

As other area shelters are closing, such as nearby Open Door Community, Oliver encourages people to support shelters that are still open. She named the increase of housing costs and gentrification in the area as reasons more are at risk of losing their homes. 

"Our hearts are saddened that the shelter doors are closing but those of us with a passion to help will find a way to continue to support this important mission," Oliver said. 

Like North Fulton County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Kindergarten teacher allegedly drunk, carrying loaded pistol at school
Kindergarten teacher allegedly drunk, carrying loaded pistol at school

An elementary school teacher allegedly had alcohol on her breath and a loaded pistol in her purse at school Thursday, officials said.  A staff member at Shelton Elementary reported that 39-year-old Melanie Bullard smelled like she’d been drinking and school officials began an investigation about noon, Paulding County Sheriff’s spokesman...
Look for these pieces of Braves memorabilia around SunTrust Park
Look for these pieces of Braves memorabilia around SunTrust Park

From its start in Boston to Oct. 28, 1995, there’s been a lot of Braves history. And as with anyone moving into a new home, the team had a chance to plan out how to display the artifacts it was most proud of. There’s plenty to see at SunTrust Park if you know where to look.  Some items are as obvious as the 35 pennants, but...
Police fear for DeKalb mother missing for months
Police fear for DeKalb mother missing for months

Five months later, Chamblee mother Cecilia Bustamante is still missing.  The 42-year-old left her credit and debit cards, ID, passport and her 7-year-old son in late October, though police weren’t notified she was gone until Dec. 2. That was after relatives in Maryland grew concerned after she missed Thanksgiving. The Chamblee Police...
Georgia deputy had ‘watery, bloodshot eyes’ after alleged DUI crash
Georgia deputy had ‘watery, bloodshot eyes’ after alleged DUI crash

A Douglas County sheriff’s deputy faces a DUI charge after he crashed his car on the side of a road in Douglasville, according to the Georgia State Patrol.  Matthew Owen Harper, 33, crashed on Cedar Mountain Road about 7 p.m. Saturday, according to a GSP crash report.  Harper had watery, bloodshot eyes and “slow and mumbled&rdquo...
JUST IN: Downtown streets closed amid ‘red mercury’ investigation
JUST IN: Downtown streets closed amid ‘red mercury’ investigation

Officials are investigating in downtown Atlanta after reports that a man claiming to have red mercury from Africa walked into the Region 2 location of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, police said.  “We received a call regarding a male coming into the facility carrying red mercury from Africa,” Atlanta police Officer Stephanie...
More Stories