City of Refuge has completed the renovation of The 345, the organization’s second affordable housing project on Atlanta’s Westside.
The first affordable housing project from the organization was a 47-unit apartment community called The 1300, developed in 2020.
Originally built by O.T. Bell, The Danzig Motel opened on Chappell Road in 1959. Nearly 40 years later in 1997, the Motel was purchased by the Antioch Baptist Church and renovated as “Matthew’s Place,” a home that served HIV-positive residents. Now, City of Refuge will blend the histories of the two entities together to bring The 345 to life, focusing on Westside neighborhood residents, especially those from the Westlake and Bankhead areas, who are defined as low income individuals by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“From where we stand as an organization, Atlanta’s Westside is filled with hidden potential. The 345 is just one example of how we are working to uncover and restore critical pillars of this community by tackling one of its most pervasive issues: lack of affordable housing,” said Bruce Deel, City of Refuge founder and CEO. “Over the coming months and years, we are excited to share more on how we are improving access to high-quality, safe and supportive housing to support transformation for families and individuals in the 30314.”
With the goal of serving primarily men, The 345 will provide 31 housing units and access to City of Refuge’s wraparound services for up to three years. Services include budgeting, discipleship, mentorship, employment, counseling, addiction recovery, healthcare, childcare, basic life skills, fitness and more. Each floor will be managed by a Resident Services Supervisor, who will also serve as an advisor to the men living in The 345.
The three-floor housing community will be separated by groups of men: floor one will be dedicated to citizens returning from incarceration; floor two will house veterans; and floor three will serve young men aged 18-24 who are committed to furthering their education, working full time or enrolled in one of City of Refuge’s vocational training programs taught in the onsite Workforce Innovation Hub.
Construction on The 345 launched in early 2022, with the intent to preserve much of the existing architecture while providing an industrial, yet warm, environment for future residents. City of Refuge purchased The Danzig Motel in May 2017 and completed several pre-development efforts to ready the site for construction, including graffiti removal, roof repairs, asbestos mitigation, and clearing interior and exterior debris.
Third-Lens Ministries served as the project manager, while Pencor Construction served as general contractor. Additional partners included The Home Depot Foundation and Georgia Power, with contributions also made by individual supporters and local churches, corporations and foundations.
“Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $400 million in veteran causes, including working to ensure those who served our country have access to stable, secure and affordable housing,” said Erica Headlee, manager of strategic programs and partnerships for The Home Depot Foundation. “We’re proud to extend that commitment to veterans in Atlanta by supporting The 345 facility.”
“Georgia Power is a proud supporter of City of Refuge and the impactful transformation they continue to make in people’s lives on their journey to empowerment,” said Lisa Smith, Georgia Power SVP Region External Affairs and Community Engagement. “We will continue to be an engaged partner in breaking barriers and building momentum for the future of Atlanta’s Westside community.”
Since the organization was founded in 1997, City of Refuge has transformed the lives of more than 35,000 people by providing the tools they need to break down barriers through a strategic mix of supportive services that target health & wellness, housing, vocational training and youth development. The nonprofit is headquartered in Atlanta’s historic Westside and has several satellite campuses across the country.
To learn more about City of Refuge and The 345, visit cityofrefugeatl.org.