Atlanta police recruits now have a new place to call home. This week an apartment building opened that will house 29 recruits and one sworn officer.
"I found out we had recruits who were from out of town sleeping in their vehicles at the academy because Atlanta housing cost too much," Atlanta Mayor Andree Dickens told guests on hand for a ribbon-cutting. While on the Atlanta City Council, Dickens selected a parcel of city-owned land in the English Avenue neighborhood. Corporations, philanthropic organizations, and contractors all chipped in on the project, FOX5 reported.
Each recruit gets a bedroom and bath and there is a common area with a kitchen and living room. The applicant pays well below market rent for the space. As a recruit gets to graduation day and eventually on their own, the dorm-style apartment becomes available to the next applicant.
"We were actually losing people because they couldn't afford to stay here. This gives them the opportunity to stay and so we will continue to grow our police department," said Chief Rodney Bryant at the ceremony.
Officials with the Atlanta Police Foundation told CBS46 recruits began moving in this week.
"The city of Atlanta is doing this because we want every young man and woman that wants to be in law enforcement, we want them to choose Atlanta Police Department to serve until their retirement and getting a good start is what we're going to do right here in this facility," explained Dickens.
It's a concept the city says it hopes to expand, having more officers and recruits live within the communities they serve.
"The mayor's plan is to hire 250 officers the first year and every year for the next several years," said Dave Wilkinson, CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation. "Right now about 25 percent of those police recruits are coming from outside the city of Atlanta, Metro Atlanta area which means we need somewhere between 75 to 100 beds if we want to do this for every police recruit."