THE UNITED METHODIST CHILDREN’S HOME SALE OF CAMPUS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is The United Methodist Children’s Home? What does The Children’s Home do?
The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today UMCH serves over 240 children and adults per day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016. For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.
Why did you sell?
There is a child welfare crisis in our state. 13,000 kids are in the state’s custody. 150 kids sleep in hotel rooms with strangers each month due to a lack of foster homes. UMCH turns away 40 kids a week. All of these situations that kids face call upon us to do more. Knowing these facts, the UMCH Board voted in January to release assets tied to the property by selling its Decatur campus. This decision will help us reach more children and families in need. Funds from the sale will be used to open new offices across North Georgia, and more effectively take all four of our programs to many more children and families in communities across our state.
Who is the buyer?
City of Decatur (CoD)
What price paid?
The sale price is $40 million
Were there other offers? (or) Why did you sell to the City? (or) Why didn’t you list the property?
The property was never listed. Though several other parties expressed interest, the only offer received was from the City of Decatur (CoD). And we believe that the City’s offer is ideal for our mission, given the combination of their market-rate purchase price, their commitment to honor our history by preserving the chapel and founder’s burial, as well as naming campus administration building for our longtime CEO, and their responsibility to consider the public’s interests as they decide how to use the land.
Are you closing?
UMCH is not closing. Rather, we are expanding our services to better reach children and families who are in great need across North Georgia. We maintain our commitment to have a presence and offer services in metropolitan Atlanta.
Where are residents going?
Current UMCH residents will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted services provided by UMCH. Current residents will relocate to safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties; and they will be actively involved in helping plan this process.
How will the money be used?
The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And it will be used so we can expand our ministries into communities we are not serving today, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Proceeds from the sale will serve all of our ministries…our Foster Care ministry, our Family Housing ministry, and our Independent Living and Transitional Living ministries, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.
What will happen to the Decatur campus?
The sale includes preservation of the sacred, historic Moore Chapel, and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder, Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring. The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren. The City of Decatur will, of course, determine plans for the remainder of the property.
What about the history on that property?
We care deeply about our 143 years of history on our Decatur campus. The lives of countless children were changed by the loving staff and volunteers who worked here over the decades. That love will continue, and will expand across North Georgia. The City is fully supporting our desire to preserve the chapel and the founder’s burial site as a way to honor our history. We are very pleased with the City’s unwavering commitment to that. Honoring our longtime CEO by naming the administration building in his memory is another nice gesture.
What will happen to the [trees, lake, lawns, buildings, etc.] on campus?
CoD will decide the future of the property’s existing structures and natural resources.
Who can I call with my [question, concern, complaint, idea, etc.]?
Feel free to please call the UMCH information line 404-327-5867