Mayor Andre Dickens signed an executive order on Wednesday morning to spend $4.6 million to expand shelters, sites, services, security, and warming centers for those experiencing homelessness in the city of Atlanta.

“These issues did not pop up overnight and will not be solved overnight,” Dickens said at a Jan. 24 press conference at Atlanta City Hall. “It’s our moral obligation to assist our brothers and sisters in need.”

The signing took place ahead of Friday’s opening of a new “rapid housing” project near Atlanta City Hall that will utilize 40 shipping containers to help people transition out of homelessness.

Dickens said the Forsyth Street site of the rapid housing project, formerly used as a city employee parking lot, will have full-time staff, clinicians, peer specialists, and a resident manager. Each unit is designed as a studio apartment with its own bedroom and bathroom.

During Monday’s Atlanta City Council, the body passed legislation to donate $2.4 million to Partner for Homes, which are helping people and families living underneath bridges and other public areas to find permanent housing. Another $700,000 was approved for Gateway Center, which helps connect homeless individuals with needed services.

Both bills were sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston.

“This legislation reflects our city’s core values,” Winston said during the executive order signing ceremony. “This funding will go directly to the organization’s offering far more than just shelter — they are offering hope and a path to a brighter future.”

Dickens told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the signing ceremony that city crews will soon begin clearing out homeless encampments under bridges susceptible to fire.

That move comes after fire damaged a bridge on Cheshire Bridge Road for the second time in three years. A portion of the road remains closed after the blaze, which is believed to have been started by homeless people camping under bridge.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.