Phoenix Pass seeking support, volunteers

CONYERS -- Phoenix Pass is issuing a call for volunteers and support for its programs that aid homeless women and children in Rockdale County.

The organization will host a communitywide meeting Thursday to unveil new plans for events and activities for the future of Phoenix Pass. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rockdale Leadership Center, 2826 Ga. Highway 20 S.E., Conyers, next to Mercy Heart Clinic.

"This meeting will be a great opportunity for volunteers and potential donors to learn about our history, our accomplishments and opportunities for the future," said Ron Simpson, chairman of Phoenix Pass board of directors. "This organization is about Rockdale citizens serving those in need in our own community."

Phoenix Pass, which is located on Sigman Road in Light House Village, now is home to 27 homeless women and children. The organization's program is designed to provide transitional housing and support for those in need while they learn to become self-sufficient.

"We have an apartment complex which houses seven families plus a security officer and his family," according to Marcie Howington, executive director of Phoenix Pass. "These families can live in the apartments rent-free for up to two years while they participate in programming designed to help them re-establish self-sufficiency. Programming includes classes in financial literacy, family care and management, job skills and placement, and nutrition. Families also have weekly case management meetings aimed to help them develop and reach individualized goals."

Though homelessness might not appear to be a significant problem in Rockdale County, Howington said there are approximately 250 homeless children in Rockdale County Public Schools this year.

"There is a huge need for transitional housing in our community," she said.

Phoenix Pass has already achieved success in its mission; the first family housed there graduated to stable housing in January, according to Howington. The newest family to receive assistance joined the program in February and is making "great progress," she said. "We hope to have another family ready for graduation in the next few months."

"Our informational meeting on April 12 will be a chance for community members to gather in support of Phoenix Pass and to learn how we can each play a vital role in its mission," Howington said.