RER applies for grant to aid families

COVINGTON - More help could be on the way for struggling families in Newton and Rockdale counties.

Rockdale County Emergency Relief Fund Inc. is applying for federal funds to help stabilize families in financial distress due to the economic downturn.

If approved, Newton County could receive up to $250,000 per year during the next two to three years, and Rockdale could get up to $200,000 annually.

The grant is being administered through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Recovery Act Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

It's purpose is to provide rehousing and homelessness prevention assistance to those in need.

Local nonprofit agencies that provide financial assistance for rent, utilities and deposits would benefit, along with those that help with housing searches, placement and inspection services, and offer comprehensive life skills training and development services, including financial planning and education.

Rockdale Emergency Relief would act as a fiduciary agent for the grant, Executive Director Ashley Roesler said.

Agencies would provide services and then apply to DCA for reimbursement through Rockdale Emergency Relief. Once the funds are obtained, Rockdale Emergency Relief would then send the money directly to the agencies.

Potential service partners in Newton County would be the Salvation Army, FaithWorks and Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter, Roesler said.

"It's better to help each other through situations like this. We may do this as a permanent process when the opportunity is presented to reach a hand out and help neighboring communities and build a real regional community," she said.

Roesler said she is completing the grant application now and expects to get word after Aug. 1 of whether it has been approved.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners recently pledged its support for the grant application. No county funding is involved.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.