Our History

Founded in Faith, Reaching out to the World

Villa International is a 33-room residence founded in 1967 as a “home away from home” for international guests in Atlanta. In 1966 an international scientist working at the CDC committed suicide while staying alone at a hotel. The U.S. State Department recognized the need for an international hospitality program in Atlanta and contacted the Presbyterian Church, U.S. The Presbyterian Women raised over $300,000 for the first 19-bedroom guest house. Capital campaigns throughout Villa’s history have expanded the building to include 33 guest rooms, a library, dining room, two kitchens and a chapel.

Atlanta can be an intimidating city, especially for international visitors working long hours in unfamiliar surroundings. Finding a place to live can often be a daunting experience. Being able to afford housing, when a month’s rent is often more than a guest’s entire annual salary, can be a deal breaker. In response to these obstacles, seven Christian denominations joined together to create a welcoming community where visitors can mingle with other residents and find acceptance, respect, and the comforts of home. The seven denominations are: Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church (U.S.), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Evangelical Lutheran Church (U.S.)

Villa was launched in 1970 with funding from the Women of the Church, Presbyterian Church (US), now part of Presbyterian Women of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Subsequent expansion and upgrades have been funded by a network of churches, foundations, and individuals.

Since our doors opened in 1972, we have hosted over 26,000 residents from 179 countries.  

Early photo of Villa
1993 Groundbreaking Ceremony