Winter 2024 Brings Significant Center for Diversion and Services Construction Progress

February 2024

Since the March 2023 groundbreaking, the City of Atlanta has made significant progress toward construction of the new Center for Diversion and Services.  The Diversion Center is an evidence-backed, collaborative project supported by core partners including Fulton County, Grady Health System (Grady), the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD), Georgia Justice Project (GJP), and many other partners and community members.  Construction activities thus far have included demolition of necessary spaces within the 254 Peachtree St., SW building and build-out of new spaces for guest drop-off, initial peer reception and consultation, basic medical care, laundry and personal item storage, bathrooms and showers, case management, sobering and respite, and meals.  Efforts have also included initial drywalling, plumbing, electrical work, and purchase of furniture and network infrastructure.  The links below show recent construction photos and future renderings, which provide core partners’ vision for Diversion Center guest flow and scope of services once operational.

View recent construction photos here and future renderings here.

As noted below, the Diversion Center will offer 24/7 pre-arrest law enforcement drop-off at the 254 Peachtree St., SW building for individuals experiencing concerns related to homelessness, mental health, problematic substance use, and/or extreme poverty.  Aiming to reduce arrest and jail and empower individuals with tools and resources to move forward positively, Diversion Center guests will be welcomed by a peer-led team and receive a holistic, person-centered set of services.  Services will include, among others, mental and physical health assessments, basic medical care (with transportation to Grady’s main campus for acute needs), sobering and resting spaces, and access to food, clothing, bathrooms, showers, and laundry services.  PAD peer navigators will also co-create long-term care plans for guests outlining access to a wider range of on- and off-site services, some of which will include legal navigation (including outstanding warrant resolution), housing support, substance use and/or residential treatment, job-related resources, and more.

Core partners, including Grady, serving in its capacity as Diversion Center operator, continue progress toward ensuring a successful opening, including:

  • Renewing the City of Atlanta-Fulton County Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for an additional four years (2024-27), which commits both entities to shared Diversion Center funding and other supports;
  • Hiring a Diversion Center Director and organizing spring 2024 job fairs for hiring additional administrative, clinical, and peer Diversion Center staff;
  • Collaborating with PAD and the Atlanta Police Department to develop training curricula and additional activities to raise officer awareness of Diversion Center services, including spring and summer 2024 Diversion Center tours;
  • Supporting GJP’s ongoing Warrant Resolution Clinic operations, which include establishing processes to quickly resolve outstanding warrants for Diversion Center guests;
  • Strengthening relationships with off-site community providers that will receive warm Diversion Center guest hand-offs for services such as housing;
  • Awarding local artists contracts to create an external mural and curate internal artwork after an open and competitive selection process; and
  • Finalizing on-site operational protocol and standard operating procedures.

Additionally, the Justice Policy Board (JPB), which was established through the IGA noted above, continues providing guidance toward Diversion Center development (through its Operations Committee) and seeking opportunities to expand similar arrest and jail alternatives across metro Atlanta (through its Vision Committee).  The JPB will ultimately review Diversion Center reporting to deepen impact and improve services over time.  The JPB is a multi-stakeholder board consisting of government, community, and other stakeholder and partner members who volunteer their time and meet quarterly.

View all JPB meeting minutes, presentations, and other documentation here.

Current estimates project the Diversion Center opening its doors in fall 2024, with an official ribbon-cutting event planned for summer 2024.

Please stay tuned here and on City of Atlanta and core partner social media channels for continued updates.


Thank you to all partners for their continued support!