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Demystifying Grant Park’s Nonprofits

Part 3: Nicholas House

By Ashley Zhu

This article is part three of six detailing the major nonprofits operating in Grant Park. Ashley Zhu is a current student at Emory University. 

Nicholas House is a nonprofit agency that operates an emergency shelter as well as scattered apartment sites for homeless families. The organization was founded around 40 years ago by members of the St. Bartholomew’s church, who saw a need to provide shelter to families in the area who didn’t have places to stay at night.

Currently, Nicholas House is no longer affiliated with the church and operates as a standalone organization, but they still provide the same kind of emergency assistance housing like they did 40 years ago. 

Additionally, Nicholas House provides rapid rehousing services and also works to prevent people from losing their homes. For example, if a family is about to get evicted because they are behind on rent payments, they step in to help pay their rent and utilities so that they don’t have to leave home at all.

According to Nicholas House Development and Marketing Manager Becca Gross, the nonprofit also offers dinner to their residents every single night, through the help of their volunteers. During school breaks, they also offer daily lunches.

“We rely so heavily on volunteers,” Gross said. “Our staff is only about 10 people, and we serve many, many families each year. So we have to rely on a lot of volunteer groups to get things done.”

In addition to meal service, volunteers also assist to maintain the shelter, which is a 200 year old historic building. Volunteers help with painting, landscaping and other maintenance related tasks. Furthermore, they facilitate many of the adult education classes, which may include informational courses on financial literacy, loans or taxes, as well as the child education classes, which include art and science activities.

Gross also noted that their work is significant because they are affecting both individual lives as well as entire families, and they are able to help every member of the family as the adults work to gain stability, find jobs and sort out their financial issues. 

“We’re really unique in that we only serve families and we also take in families of any composition, which is a very needed thing in the community, because a lot of shelters split people up by gender or age,” Gross added. “So for example, if you’re like a single father with young daughters, it can be hard to find the shelter that will take all of you in. So we really kind of fill that gap there and allow people to stay together while they’re going through this rough time in their lives.” 

During the holidays, Nicholas House allows people to “adopt families,” which entails people in the Atlanta area fulfilling wish lists by buying Christmas gifts, curated by the families. They are currently aiming to reinstate all of the in-person events that were halted by COVID, which will primarily be volunteer-run.

Gross encourages people to get involved by going to the Nicholas House website at, where there is a detailed listing of all of the different ways volunteers can get involved.

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