At a joint meeting this week, the Sustainable Housing Task Force and the Workforce Initiative groups met at the Coweta Accountability Courts building to learn more about court programs, hear from participants and tour the building.
The struggle to find housing is often a reality for some accountability court participants.
“I have families that have been torn apart because of substance abuse. A lot of them might have lost their housing,” said Marlowe Dix, coordinator for Coweta Family Treatment Court.
One of the requirements of the Family Treatment Court program, which works with families who have lost custody of their children to the Division of Family and Children’s Services, is to have an address, Dix said.
If people don’t have an address, court workers help them find one. But it can be tough, and sometimes it’s a motel room for a short period.
Sometimes participants find an apartment with a monthly rent they can afford – but they can’t afford that two months of rent at once to get into the apartment.
But once families start getting their lives back together, “they will find a rental property, or a brother or sister — somebody — that is going to help them,” Dix said. “They’ve got to get stable."
“I just wish that housing was not as hard of an issue as it is,” Dix said. “Some of these apartment rents are more than my mortgage."
The state of Georgia has a program that will pay landlords $600 per person, per month for accountability court participants or those just getting out of prison through the “Reentry Partnership Housing Program,” administered through the Georgia Department of Community Supervision.
The program requires more than just providing a place to stay, however. There must be food provided or some provision for food.
Landlords/service providers don’t have to cook or serve the food – residents can prepare their own food in a kitchen, but some sort of food or food voucher must be provided, said Jennifer Barnett, accountability court manager. The rooms, apartments or houses must also be furnished, she said.
“It’s a really valuable program that I’ve been trying to find some landlords to help with,” Barnett said. “If someone would be willing to do this, I could keep the house full with our newer participants as they transition out of jail or rehab."
If you’re a landlord or property owner interested in participating in the program, contact Barnett at JBarnett@coweta.ga.us