About Us

Where Good Works!

With almost two decades of experience and 20,000 lives transformed, City of Refuge is a leader in the business of social transformation. We are located in the middle of one of Atlanta’s most impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods where nearly 40% of the residents live below the Federal Poverty Level. In spite of the stereotypes, we believe the people of the 30314 neighborhood desire and deserve to live full, healthy lives. We also believe our neighbors should have the same dignity, pride, and opportunities as everyone else. To achieve this goal, suitable housing, excellent schools, a safe community, and the opportunity to earn livable wages are necessary. At the same time, we believe those in our neighborhood should not be forced out by greedy opportunistic developers, who only look to develop high-end commercial and residential properties. Our mission and goal at City of Refuge is to transform 30314 by empowering and equipping the residents with the tools to succeed.

Our Story

In July of 1997, Bruce Deel was asked to travel to Atlanta to assist with the closing of a church. After a few weeks into the process, he realized something miraculous was happening. Instead of the congregation dwindling, it was growing with people desperately in need of spiritual nurturing as well as basic life necessities. Eventually, Bruce Deel, his wife, and five daughters relocated to Atlanta, and re-incorporated the former “Mission Possible” into City of Refuge.

By 2003, City of Refuge had experienced immense growth and needed a formal transformation headquarters. After months of searching, the City of Refuge was miraculously donated a sprawling 200,000+ sq. ft. warehouse in the heart of the troubled 30314 neighborhood. Today, this state-of-the-art hub serves as the center of “Where Good Works.” In addition to offering spiritual guidance to those in need, City of Refuge offers housing, health care, vocational programs, educational programs, and even more.

How Good Works

Since 1997, City of Refuge has served as the light upon the hill in 30314 and surrounding communities. Our programs are designed to provide a direct impact in all areas and phases of life, such as:

  • Housing
  • Youth Development
  • Health & Wellness
  • Vocation

Our innovative and effective solution-based programs are designed to equip the residents of our neighborhood with the proper tools to overcome the inherent obstacles of poverty. As a result of having these tools, we look to transform lives and guide individuals into a place of financial independence and self-sustainability. The COR programs are always expanding to meet newly arising needs, but our most common programs are:

With approximately 85 dedicated staff members, 10 innovative directors, and five chief executive officers, City of Refuge makes the most out of every donated dollar. To help us make our vision a reality, we have partnered with several local and national organizations in the nonprofit community that impact key outcomes at various life stages. A few of these strategic partners are:

We encourage you to come out and tour our state-of-the-art 210,000 square-foot renovated and fully operational space. This innovative space houses all City of Refuge programming, including the 180° Kitchen, dining hall, weight room, basketball court, assembly room, and sanctuary. We also house our partner organizations, such as the Bright Futures Academy and the Mercy Care Medical Center.


Over the years, City of Refuge has received several awards, grants, as well as recognition for transforming lives. The following information provides a snapshot of some of our most notable achievements:

In 2015 City of Refuge was presented with the Tocqueville Society’s Mark O’Connell Community Impact…


In 2015 City of Refuge received Chick-fil-A’s True Inspiration Award for Innovative Education.


In 2011 City of Refuge was selected as one of two winners of the Bank…


In 2010 Bruce Deel was named the Atlanta Braves representative to the Major League Baseball…


In 2010, City of Refuge received the Bridge Builder Award from the Georgia Coalition against…

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, City of Refuge received an official Commendation from Georgia’s Governor,…

The Challenge

Although our neighborhood is just west of the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium, it’s one of the poorest and most crime-ridden areas in the nation. With almost 40% of the residents living below the Federal Poverty Level, the 30314 neighborhood includes Vine City, English Avenue, and Washington Park. This zip code accounts for a staggering 60% of all murders in Atlanta, which is why the FBI considers the “1300” block of 30314 as the 5th most violent block in the entire United States.