Springdale Place Comprehensive Services Center to Homeless Women with Children opened one year ago on February 28, 2012.¬† Since opening the doors, Fulton County's Housing and Human Services Department, Office of Emergency and Transitional Housing has provided services to help 180 homeless mothers with children to begin building new lives with stable employment and permanent housing in their futures.¬† The goal of rebuilding lives one mother and family at a time continues as the facility enters its second year.
Forty- seven-year-old Vanessa Lee, the mother of two ten-year old girls and one twelve-year-old girl was a full-time student when her children's father lost his job, which resulted in the loss of Lee"s apartment in 2012.¬† Since her arrival at Springdale Place, Lee is now employed as a Human Services Specialist with the Housing and Human Services Department, Office of Emergency and Transitional Housing.¬† Lee hopes to be in permanent housing within two or three weeks.¬† She is currently searching for affordable housing.
Lee admits readily that Springdale Place has helped her to recognize areas where she needed discipline such as communicating effectively with different people of different backgrounds and exercising patience with her children.¬† Lee says that the difficult experience has taught her family to appreciate each other while sharing space within one room over the past year.¬† How has it affected her children?¬† She says her twelve-year-old describes the experience as "a roller coaster ride." Lee quotes her daughter, "We got on the ride, went down and now we're coming up again."
Chronically homeless for nearly three years, 40-year-Jamie McCrimmon went from shelter to shelter beginning with a Salvation Army shelter, Jars of Clay, the City of Atlanta's Gateway Shelter and finally to Springdale Place.¬† McCrimmon states frankly that just before Springdale Place accepted her, her situation boiled down to the difficulty of finding a shelter that would accept her and her 16-year-old son, which left her with few options until she moved to Springdale Place.
Currently, McCrimmons' case manager and counselors are working to help her to obtain disability because of her long-term struggles with depression, chronic anxiety and chronic pain.¬† McCrimmon has a message for other women in crisis without shelter for their children.¬† She says, "Help is out there. You have to continue to search and ask for assistance."
Springdale Place's intergovernmental partners in Fulton include: the Office of Workforce Development, the Facilities and Transportation Department, the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Department, and Health and Wellness. Public partners include Fulton County Schools, Atlanta Public schools and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Non-profit partners include the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the Zion Hill Community Development Corporation (CDC).¬† The FOP donated $150 gift certificates to the women and assisted them with their shopping while the Zion Hill CDC allows the women to shop at no cost in the Z Boutique for clothing for themselves and their families.¬† Private supporters of Springdale Place include Rite Aid Pharmacy and Wal-Mart.¬† Rite Aid donated a Christmas tree and decorations to support the facility's tree lighting program as well as gift bags with hygiene products.¬†¬†¬† Wal-Mart provided 10% discounts on all merchandise during the shopping spree supported by the FOP.
Springdale Place is one example of the Fulton County concept of "Common Ground," which combines the programs of various County services to provide a variety of services to address the needs of citizens in a holistic manner.¬† The Common Ground concept seeks to use taxpayer funds in a strategic and efficient manner.¬† For more information about Springdale Place or other Health and Human Services programs, citizens and those who want to help can call 404-613-7944.