Emmaus House is a center for community life on the corner of Hank Aaron Drive and Haygood Avenue in the Peoplestown neighborhood just south of Turner Field. Founded by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Emmaus House offers over 150,000 hours of direct service in programs for youth, adults, seniors and families each year.
In April 2012, Emmaus House set forth a vision and developed a plan for the next 5 years to sharpen the focus of our work with our neighbors in Peoplestown. Our new vision and plan are summarized below.
Vision: A vibrant neighborhood for all residents.
Mission: Grounded in the Episcopal tradition, Emmaus House provides education, opportunity, assistance, and advocacy in partnership with our neighbors in Peoplestown.
- Promote economic sufficiency and stability for our neighbors.
- Fosters the growth and development of our neighborhood’s children and youth.
- Engage and support partnerships with organizations both in our neighborhood and outside which can further enhance the well being of our neighbors.
- Raise or acquire at least $750,000 in annual funding to support its activities.
- Recruit, retain, and develop staff, interns, volunteers, and advisory board members who can deliver the mission.
Reach: In January 2013, Emmaus House will begin to primarily serve the Peoplestown neighborhood and families of students in the D.H. Stanton Elementary School. In addition, some services will be provided to members of the Emmaus House Chapel and residents of zip code 30315. All others will be referred to other service centers.
History: In 1967, Father Austin Ford, an Episcopal Priest and advocate for civil rights, moved into 1017 Hank Aaron Drive (formerly Capitol Avenue) along with two nuns and a seminary student. The home purchased with the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta was a dilapidated two-story rooming house. With no real plan Father Ford and his colleagues went to work fixing up the house. Neighborhood children started showing up at their doorstep asking to come in and parents soon followed informing Father Ford of their needs. Like the settlement houses of the 1920s, Father Ford garnered resources to benefit Peoplestown residents and established an after-school program, once-a-month transportation to Reidsville State Prison for family members of inmates, chapel services, hot meals, and a poverty rights office. As a strong advocate for integration, Father Ford encouraged families to send their children to majority white schools when the courts mandated that Atlanta provide free transportation to any African-American child. Ford was also instrumental in winning a landmark lawsuit granting welfare recipients the right to a hearing before the state reduced their grants. Under Father Ford’s leadership and the countless volunteers that supported his efforts, Emmaus House evolved into an important resource for the Peoplestown community.
Read Father Ford’s personal account of his relationship to Emmaus House here as told to LeeAnn Lands.