Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms delivered her 2021 “State of the City” address virtually on March 31, outlining plans to reduce crime, tackle homelessness, continue affordable housing efforts, improve city services and infrastructure, and plans for COVID-19 recovery.
As the city’s homicide rate has made national headlines, Bottoms said public safety and crime reduction is her top priority. “Mayors and leaders across the country are recognizing gun violence as a public health emergency, and I join them in that sentiment,” she said.
Bottoms committed to adding 250 new police officers on the streets in the next fiscal year and $3 million in funding to add 250 camera and license plate readers to the surveillance network, among other initiatives.
She also re-committed to closing and reimagining of the city jail, although the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has expressed interest in using it for detainees. “This nearly 500,000-square-foot, 17-story building holds approximately 30 people a night,” Bottoms said. “Reimagining a different use for this facility is a good financial move for the city, but it will also help us tackle issues like homelessness, addiction and mental health, ultimately making our city safer and our communities stronger.”
Bottoms said federal pandemic money would be channeled to communities for rental assistance and committed to providing a permanent and affordable home with wrap-around services for nearly 2,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness by the end of the year. She said $100 million in new bond funding would be used to support the creation and preservation of affordable homes in Atlanta.
As for COVID-19 recovery, Bottoms received her first dose of the vaccine on March 30 and said getting residents inoculated — particularly communities disproportionately impacted by the virus — remains a priority. She encouraged Atlantans to get the vaccine at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium mass site or any of the others around the city. A door-to-door canvas will soon happen in underserved communities for vaccine awareness and assistance—including assistance with transportation and registration.
For more on this story and a video of the address, see coverage in Atlanta Intown.