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Release Date: 06.19.2017 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency

Atlanta Daybook Nonprofit Spotlight | Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (ACSS)

Tonight in metro Atlanta, more than 7,000 men, women and children will go to sleep in cars, under bridges, in shelters and on the streets. Homelessness is a nuanced and complicated issue, but for many, the most difficult obstacle, finding and sustaining employment, is the primary obstacle to establishing healthy independence.

Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency was established in 2010. But the organization’s work started in 1982 with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s SLEDCO initiative that eventually became the Atlanta Enterprise Center. The other organization that would one day become ACSS, Samaritan House of Atlanta, was founded in 1988. In 2010 these two organizations joined forces to serve Atlanta’s homeless population in a more impactful way, and ACSS was born. Combining years of experience in homeless services and workforce development, ACSS offers homeless individuals the knowledge, tools and resources required to obtain full-time employment and thrive in their own lives. Dana Johnson is President and CEO for the ACSS.

As the largest and most successful provider of Workforce Development resources to homeless men and women in Atlanta, the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency has served more than 2,500 people since 2010, with more than 1,500 obtaining full-time employment. 


CareerWorks, the ACSS cornerstone program, offers employment readiness and job placement to homeless individuals. CareerWorks includes a three-week employment readiness training course, personalized case management, job search assistance, professional clothing, transportation assistance, housing placement assistance and individual action plans.

  • 72% of all program participants obtain full-time employment
  • 75% of all employed graduates retain their jobs for 6 months or more
  • Average starting wage is $9.41 per hour, 79% over state minimum wage and 30% over federal minimum wage

The Veterans Employment Assistance Program is a specialized initiative within CareerWorks, serving US military veterans. Participants receive the same services as CareerWorks, in addition to specialized veterans’ services such as medical care, housing assistance and specialized vocational training. As the largest provider of workforce development services for Atlanta’s homeless, ACSS is the vocational partner of choice for the Department of Labor, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans’ Empowerment Organization.

Getting a job is only part of the workforce development journey, which is why ACSS works to help program participants keep those jobs. Without meeting the basic need of shelter, it is hard to focus on anything, much less building a career. With funding support from FEMA, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County, ACSS is able to assist qualified clients to secure permanent housing by assisting with the first few months of rent.

Social enterprise is core to the organization’s values, as it allows ACSS to include earned income to their funding sources, adding an element of self-sufficiency to their funding model as they teach their clients to become economically independent.
Café 458 - During the week, Café 458 serves as a resource center for homeless men and women, but on Sundays the Cafe is open to the public as a fully-functioning restaurant. The Sunday brunch builds awareness for the organization, provides on the job training for ACSS  clients, and all proceeds support ACSS!



You can of course donate or volunteer with the organization - Companies can also become Employment Partners and hire the ACSS graduates.

Snapshot of ACSS Supporters


Contact Info

Contact Name: Stephanie Shapiro

Company: Stephanie Shapiro

Phone: 404-874-8001