Finding Home on the Westside: The Story of Kristen Folsom


Kristen Folsom has always felt a connection to the historic Westside. She remembers coming to Atlanta, as a child, to visit her cousin who lived on Fair Street.

“I knew then that I wanted Atlanta to be my home and I wanted to be in this area,” said Folsom.

She eventually pursued her dream of moving to Atlanta, attending Spelman College in the early to mid-90s. From there, Folsom stayed in the city working in media and communications as a journalist and eventually in the field of public health.

Folsom’s connection to her alma mater introduced her to Westside Future Fund’s (WFF) signature program Home on the Westside. Folsom received an email from former Spelman College president and WFF Board Chair Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum sharing information about opportunities for homeownership within the historic Westside for those with live, work, and learn connections to the community.

“I got connected [to the HOTW team] at Westside Future Fund and started looking at houses,” said Folsom. “Tameka [WFF’s HOTW manager] was really good about telling me what was going on in the neighborhood.”

Folsom received $20,000 in down-payment assistance for her home. She’s grateful not only to live in the community she loves but also to have access to greenspace like Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park.

“When I walked through the doors I knew this was going to be my home. I liked it because of where it’s situated on the street. I also love that the [floorplan] is so open, beautiful, and inviting,” said Folsom.

Now in her home since Fall 2023, Folsom is excited about connecting with her neighbors and the continued restoration of these historic communities.

“I can envision, even with the torn down and dilapidated buildings, someone is going to have a home there one day,” said Folsom. “I’d like for more people to learn about Westside Future Fund and how they can be involved and be part of this neighborhood.”

WFF’s mission to advance a compassionate approach to equitable revitalization is achieved through the support of our philanthropic partners. The organization has launched Our Next Chapter, a capital fundraising campaign to accelerate its ability to create affordable housing for legacy and future residents of the historic Westside and to restore these storied neighborhoods as part of the fabric of Atlanta. Become a part of Our Next Chapter.