One of the biggest issues among the homeless and the vulnerable is employment. Over the past several years, the city of Atlanta has had a steady number of homeless people, roughly 3,500. However, due to the pandemic, there was a spike in the number of homeless people over the past two years, and many were due to loss of employment. Due to COVID-19, millions of people across the country lost their jobs and could no longer afford to pay rent and support their families. Especially those who are vulnerable or do not have the resources to adequately search for jobs are at significant risk. Having a stable source of income and employment is one of the most important factors in a higher quality of life.

Recently, the Southern Company Gas Foundation has generously offered a grant to the Asian American Resource Foundation (AARC) to support the Job Placement Program. The Southern Company Gas Foundation gives millions of dollars in grants each year to organizations that promote similar values and work to improve the lives of the surrounding communities that they serve. The Charitable Foundation is able to provide support to these organizations solely through shareholder dollars by Southern Company Gas. The different values that the Foundation supports include the following: Social Justice, Arts & Education, Economic Development, Energy Assistance, and Environment. The Foundation has supported 55 communities in grants across the Southeast in the United States and has a total giving of $32 million.

The Asian American Resource Center is a hub for the Asian population in Gwinnett County, which has served since its inception 25 years ago. While AARC has initially started as an agency for advocacy and representation of the Asian community to better acclimate and blend into American society, over the years, AARC has introduced programs that assist individuals and families beyond the scope of cultural acclimation. Some of the programs that AARC has introduced that impact the community includes Naturalization classes, ESL classes, GED programs, Homelessness Prevention, Rapid ReHousing, Mental Health Counseling, Financial Management workshops, Life Skills classes, Resume writing, and an After-School Education program.

With the grant that the Southern Company Gas Foundation has provided, AARC is able to launch its newest program, the Job Placement Program (JPP). JPP is a program that was created to help those who are unemployed, underemployed, women, people of color, and those who do not have access to resources and equip them with the tools and support they need to secure a job position to achieve self-sufficiency. AARC is currently partnering with employers to direct and match our clients to their job openings. We work with our clients to equip them with the readiness required for an array of opportunities based on our partner employers’ requirements. AARC will be the epicenter of coordinating and creating a platform and will be the one-stop shop for clients until they are stable on secure a career track.

"I am excited to let you know that Workhuman is hosting our annual WorkHuman Live conference ( in your great city of Atlanta. I am thrilled to share with you that Workhuman has selected the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) as one of three charities we would like to highlight, recognize, and make a donation to as part of the Gratitude Bar at our conference. We are very impressed with the work you do to provide a multitude of programs and services that enhance self-sufficiency and quality of life for the Asian American community in metro Atlanta. Your work is clearly so important for your community.

Workhuman is dedicated to galvanizing leaders worldwide to harness the transformative power of people for the next generation of HR. The movement celebrates breakthrough organizations building human-centric workplaces where employees achieve their fullest potential – where people feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do. This year’s event features best-selling authors Priya Parker and Malcolm Gladwell, award-winning actor, activist, and co-creator of Schitt’s Creek, Dan Levy, as well as mental health advocate and amazing gymnast, Simone Biles, with more to be announced soon! They head up an all-star cast of 100 inspirational and influential presenters covering eight thought-provoking content tracks.

The Gratitude Bar and recognition experience cultivates a community of gratitude and belonging by offering all attendees at Workhuman Live the opportunity to give and receive appreciation, with an attached value given to each recognition moment, which attendees can then grant to one of the three charities."

Within the past two decades, the number of people suffering from depression and mental health disorders has exponentially increased, making suicide one of the biggest causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Over the past several years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have suffered from mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in 2020, approximately 1 in 5 adults or 21% of U.S. adults have experienced mental illness, and 1 in 20 adults or 5.6% of U.S. adults have experienced serious mental illness. Mental illness also affects the younger age groups as well. In 2016, approximately 7.7 million children or 16.5% of U.S. youth between 6-17 years of age have experienced a mental health disorder.

Mental illness affects all demographic groups among U.S. adults. Studies have shown that the following groups were affected in the U.S: Asians (13.9%), White (22.6%), black or African-American (17.3%), American Indian or Alaska Native (18.7%), mixed/multiracial (35.8%), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (16.6%), Hispanic or Latino (18.4%), Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual (47.4%). Out of those diagnosed with mental illness, in 2020, 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness and 64.5% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment. In 2016, 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment.

However, the average time between initial diagnosis with mental disorder and treatment is 11 years. Treatment may be an obstacle for many due to financial difficulties. In 2020, approximately 11% of U.S. adults with mental illness and 11.3% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness did not have any insurance coverage for treatment. Over 148 million people in the U.S. reside in an area that is designated as a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.

The Asian American Resource Center offers a Mental Health Counseling Program to provide free evaluation and counseling to enhance the quality of life to single parents, children and adolescents, victims of crime and abuse, homeless individuals, and other vulnerable individuals. AARC has partnered with industry professionals to strengthen and secure each individual’s mental health aspect and grow as mature independent individuals.

In order to support the Mental Health Counseling Program at AARC, the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia has awarded AARC with a Catholic Community grant. The Grants Program at the Catholic Foundation helps organizations in the community with sufficient financial resources to make a difference and serve those in need. The Grants Program also directly impacts non-profits, parishes, and schools serving within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta community that reflects the teachings of the Catholic social teaching, faith, and The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. AARC is thankful to have received a grant from the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia and will continue to provide mental health counseling to those in need.