“When I got in here, I didn’t realize that they aren’t just giving you a place to stay – they are also conditioning you and want you to be a better person and a better individual, to where homelessness doesn’t happen anymore.”
The Zaban Paradies Center (originally called the Temple Zaban Night Shelter for the Homeless) was founded in 1984 as the first and only shelter for homeless couples in Atlanta. The mission of the Center was to keep couples together as they moved from being homeless to find permanent places to live. Initially, the ZPC was 100% volunteer run and funded by The Temple as well as generous donors such as the Zaban family and Rick Paradies in memory of his father, Dan Paradies, a longtime supporter of the Center.
In 2008, the Temple created a board of governance, hired a professional executive director and created a separate non-profit and formally named the shelter the Zaban Couples Center. Additionally, the mission expanded to provide not just a safe place to eat and sleep but also numerous services to assist couples in the process of moving from homelessness to independent living.
Volunteer support is still a critical success factor for the Center. Volunteers from numerous educational, religious and service oriented organizations provide hot meals every evening during the residential dinner, bagged lunches for residents to take with them during the day, expertise to help residents with life skills development and clothing for residents who are in need.