Box 3, Folder 13, Document 43

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Atlanta, the capital of the Southeast, is known for its
growing economy, beautiful homes and fine universities. For most
of its citizens Atlanta offers growth, vitality and prosperity.

But for 160,000 Atlantans this is not true. They live in
40,000 unfit dwellings in neighborhoods with names such as Vine
City, Cabbagetown, Lightning, Summerhill, Mechanicsville and
Buttermilk Bottom, only minutes from downtown Atlanta, but de-
cades away from the mainstream of Atlanta's progress.

The social, economic and ethnic character of Atlanta's popu-
lation is undergoing profound change. Middle-class families are
moving to the suburbs, leaving behind in the central city area an
increasingly large concentration of unemployed, underemployed,
poorly educated, low-income families.

Some of the residents of the central city are long-time hard
core slum dwellers. Added to this group are thousands of rural
"in-migrants" who move to Atlanta yearly from surrounding states.
Crowded into deteriorating housing and alien surroundings, the
newcomers from deprived rural areas join the residents of the central
City in a lonely, miserable existence characterized by restricted
opportunities and despair. Most are unskilled. Many are illi-
terate, lacking the most basic skills in reading, writing and
arithmetic. Many are unable to fill out job applications, read
street or bus signs, or follow written work instructions. Finding
no work and little hope, the family unit disintegrates as indivi-
duals break and flee or fathers move out to allow their families
to qualify for public assistance. Desertion, divorce, crime, de-
linquency, unemployment and dependency. follow.

Who are the poor in Atlanta?

They are young men, like the 21 year old holding two jobs,
neither paying more than $1.25 an hour, to support his wife and
four children. A loan company is now threatening to garnishee his
wages because he missed payments on money borrowed to buy Christmas
toys for his children. One of his children had pneumonia. The medi-
cine and additional coal to heat his room took all he had.

The poor are women, like the 33 year old mother supporting
three children. She earns $28.00 a week and pays $12.00 a week
rent on three rooms. She must leave her children alone at home
while she works because there are no free day care centers near
her neighborhood.

The poor are old, like the 76 year old man living alone in
one room, existing on canned tomato juice and wieners which a
neighbor brings every six or seven weeks. He is paralyzed. No
one else ever comes to see him.

The poor are parents, like the mother and father struggling
to feed eight children. The father drove a garbage truck for a
private firm where his take home pay was $58.00 a week. Sometimes
he slept in the truck when he missed the one ride that took him
near his home, some 18 miles away. One night a policeman came there
to tell him that his 8 month old daughter had died of malnutrition

that afternoon. The man is now blind. He no longer watches his
oldest son draw beautiful pictures --- a son who will never have
a chance to develop this talent because he must quit school and
feed his family.

Who are the people living in Atlanta's slums?

A study of 47,000 people, io through 75 years of age, living
in poverty neighborhoods served by EOA centers, found that:

More than 2/3 of all unemployment in the Atlanta Metropolitan

areais concentrated in these low-income areas.

77% earned less than $3,000 a vear.

52% of all households were neaded by women.

82% were Negroes.

57% of the adults did not graduate from high school.

7% nad no formal education.

12% needed medical aid to remove a work handicap.

11% claimed no job skill, or only farm work as experience.
22% of the whites and 25% of the Negroes were seeking work.

Of those seeking work,

75% were women.

65% of ali seeking work were Negro women.

34% of the white women and 30% of the white men desired
additional vocational training.

75% of the Negro women and 61% of the Negro men wanted
additional vocational training.

The need for jobs, or better jobs, isa major topic of con-
versation in Atlanta's slums. The EOA centers are in daily contact
with thousands who do not earn enough to support themselves and
their families because they are unemployed, underemploved or under-
paid. Seventy-two percent of all people coming to EOA neighborhood
centers want jobs, though most need many other EOA services before
they are prepared for steady employment. -

At the same time, Atlanta employers beg for people with the
skills they need to run their businesses.

Unemployment wastes both human and economic potential. At
the lowest level. €ach man-year of unemployment costs the economy
at least $2,500-$3,000 in lost wages or products. If the per capita
income of the hard core unemployed in Atlanta could be raised just
$100 each year during a working lifetime, there would be an additi-
onal $28 million injected into the economy. If that income could be
raised to the income level of the average Atlantan, Atlanta business
would benefit from an additional $450 million of purchasing power.

These are just the extra-earning benefits. Add to this the
millions saved on welfare (between $75,000 - $100,000 to support
a family during a lifetime), unemployment payments, crime (some
$2,500 per year to keep a man in jail), and hundreds of agencies,
services and programs aimed at dealing with or eliminating these

problems, and the figure would probably double or triple.

Part of the city's recent Community Improvement Program
study dealt with jiobs -- Sow manyv there are in certair cate-
gories and protections of what the sit..ation will be in the
year 1983 1f£ present trends continue.

For example, bv four of everv ten new jobs will be
in, ‘the erty of Atlanta:

if present trends continue, these new jobs will be divided
among government, finance, insurance aud real estate - wnite
collar jobs.

None of the new jobs will be in manufacturing or in whole-
sale trade and distributior.

It is necessary to iook at population figures from the same
report to see now these trends will affect Atlanta.

By 1983 the Negro population will increase by 62 percent,
the white popuiation by four percent. Well over ualf of the city's
population will he Negro and more than half of the Negro population
will be under 20 or over 54. Over 40 percert of the Negro families
living in the city in 1983 are expected to have annual family in-
comes below $5,000.

TO SUM UP, these CIP figures show that:
FIRST, Job growth will be in white collar occupations.
NEXT, population will consist of people unqualified for
white collar jobs, by current standards.
NEXT, downtown retailing wili he supported =v a prepon-
derance of families with poverty-level 1>comes,
FINALLY, Atlanta’s growtm povceiutial wili oe impossible
to realize unless established trends are changed.

This gap between rich and poor is affecting Atlanta at every
level. The extent of the gap comes as a shock to most.

A recent study of social blight in Atlanta by our Community
Council shows the disparity clearliv.

The Council found that if vou live in one of Atlanta's upper
income areas you share an acre with six others; if you live ina
downtown slum you share an acre with 56 others.

The Council found that a baby born to slum parents has only
half the chance of surviviug as an infant in the highest income

The tuberculosis rate is five times higher among slum adults
than for adults on the Northside.

The same trend follows in juvenile delinquency according to
the Council. In Vine City the juvenile arrest rate is six times
higher than in Buckhead, Juvenile problems are complex.

nintmeac ty severe deprivation, children represent one of the

greatest tragedies of poverty. The cycle of public dependency
and failure repeats itself as they grow up little better equipped
than their parents to cope with the demands of urban life.


Many of the children live in broken homes. One out of four
children in Atlanta live with only one parent. in our slums the
figure would be more like one-half to two-thirds. Most of these
parents work. Those who earn little cannot afford day care and
the EOA and United Appeal centers for poor children can handle only
1,200. The remaining 12,000 children have no where to go. Often
they are left alone at nome or in tne streets because parents
have no alternative. Trouble is never far away. One out of six
Atlanta youths will become juvenile delinquents within one year.

The school lives of these children are marked by poor atten-
dance, low achievement and failure. They come from homes without
books, pencils or privacy. No adults are wailable to guide and
encourage the cnildren. They are dulled by low protein diets.
Obviously they cannot benefit from even the best education, if
available, unless some of these needs are corrected.

It must be stressed that poor parents care very deeply about
their children. But tney can only do what is possipie, and that
is not much.

These are some of the serious and tragic propiems confront-
ing us.

The city government, Churches,United Appeal agencies and
other public and private agencies perform hundreds of vital ser-
vices. Thev do an outstanding job.

The National Alliance of Businessmen tinder A. H. Sterne, the
Chamber of Commerce, the Jaycees, and private business are making
tremendous progress in opening jobs, changing attitudes, and
training the unemployed so they can become part of Atlanta.

In 1964 the city and county governments paved the way for
Atlanta to receive anti-poverty funds. Because of their quick
action Atlanta received one of the first urban grants under the
Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. From the beginning, Atlanta's
anti-poverty agency, Economic Opportunity Atlanta, or EOA, has
been one of the outstanding programs in the country. Mayor Allen
praises EOA's contribution to the city and credits it with helping
keep Atlanta peaceful last summer.

Led by Boisfeuillet Jones as Chairman of the Board and Jim
Parham as Executive Administrator, HOA nas helped thousands lift
themselves out of poverty.

-.-.-During the past 12 months more than 5,000
people have been placed on jobs by employment
counselors in the 14 EOA neighborhood centers...
330 school dropouts were employed through the
Neighborhood Youth Corps...80,000 hours of part-
time work were available for youths last summer
--el,100 boys have been recruited for Joe Corps
training...i,048 people have received employment

training: <..

...Twelve EOA day care centers have provided two-thirds
of all available "public" day care slots in Atlanta

(800 of approximately 1200})EOA neighborhood centers
helped poverty residents develop youth centers in

five neighborhoods with sparse recreational facili-
ties...2,300 children benefited from Head Start.

.-.-Legal services supported with Economic Opportunity
funds have successfully challenged antiquated welfare
regulations and given a new degree of equity to the
poor in their dealings with those who exploit their
ignorance...the Comprehensive Health Center is pro-
viding preventive medical services to 28,000 resi-
dents of one inner-city slum...Planned Parenthood
with a large share of funds from EOA is helping
7,500 women through nine centers...Senior Citizen
Services, largely through EOA support, provides
counseling, recreation, training and transportation
to 2,500 aged participants monthly... 40 senior
citizens work in the Foster Grandparents program
providing tender loving care to children at Grady
Hospital, the Fulton Juvenile Court and Carrie Steel
Pitts Home.

---Aides in 14 EOA neighborhocd service caters have
contacted 25,596 poor persons during the past 12
months...15,763 requests were received for social attendance at more than 2,000 neigh-
borhood meetings during the past 12 months was 124,
260 and provided a badly needed means cf expression
and communication for the poor...countless acts of
kindness have helped relieve immediate distress.

The anti-poverty program has done much more. It has demon-
strated the success of the first really new idea in social welfare
since 1776. That new idea amounts to one little preposition, but
it has revolutionized old methods. Instead of doing things FOR
and TO poor people, EOA has shown the success of working WITH people
to help them solve their own problems. EOA is not another hand-
out program. It simply offers opportunities for education, train-
ing, and services. And most important of all, the poor help plan
every program.

Some 200 neighborhood block clubs and their elected represen-
tatives to EOA committees attest to the success of this idea. Since
1964 the poor in Atlanta have spent more volunteer hours trying to
improve their lives than all other volunteers together. The impor-
tance they attach to this newopportunity was shown last year when

12,000 poor people, most of whom had never voted, came to crowded


grocery stores, vareer snops and neiguooruceod gatnering places
to vote for their representatives to EOA committees,

Of course, no one argues tnat these programs nave peen
totaliy successful. Mucn nas oeen learned, bt we still face
tough problems sucn as developing additional :eadership among
the poor, motivating the hard core unemplove:!, stretching limi-
ted dcilars and using tnem most effectively, caanging detrimen-
tal policies and laws, cnanging personal attitudes and invol-
ving more of Atlanta's citizens in these efforts.

During EOA‘'s past four years, $30,000,000 in federal money
has been made available to help lift thousands of Atlantans out
of poverty. Only approximately $500,000 sas seen aliocated by
our city and county governments. Further progress in solving
Atlanta‘s problems will depend on the interest cf Atlanta's

The week of January 12 .as ween prociaimed STARY NOW ATLANTA
week to urge Atiantain'’s to learn acout o.r cit; ’'s prosciems, what
tne poor nave done for ti.emseives and we can do to xeip

BOA is ready to lena @ .ana. Groups or individuals who want
to visit poverty areas as guests cE poor people or wno want to
volunteer in new wavs can do so by calling EOA at 525-4262,

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