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From homeless to homeowner: Phoenix Pass program graduate to move into Habitat home
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Tracy Yantis and her 16-year-old son Kyle Edwards - photo by Kathy Hooks

During this time of the year, stories of hope and joy are often as inspiring as being surrounded by loving family and friends. New homeowner and graduate of the Phoenix Pass program Tracy Yantis, has her own inspirational story to share this holiday season. 

Yantis, native of Conyers since age 12, was going through a difficult time when she first heard about the Phoenix Pass program more than two years ago.

“I was living in the unfinished basement of my parent’s home with my four children. It was a really hard situation for all of us. I heard about the Phoenix Pass program through the church I was attending, Hi Roc Baptist. I kept calling and calling, but the program wasn’t accepting applications at the time. I was told I’d be the first to know when they started. Two weeks after filling out an application, I received a call for an interview. Shortly after that, I was told my family and I would be able to move out of my parent’s home and live in one of the Phoenix Pass residential apartments. It was a life-changing moment for us.”  

The Phoenix Pass program is a not-for-profit transitional housing program for families experiencing displacement in the Rockdale County area. Their mission is to serve the needs of women and families experiencing temporary homelessness by giving them an opportunity to re-establish self-sufficiency in a residential setting. The program focuses on empowering clients with supportive services and the resources to recover and rebuild a productive, stable lifestyle for themselves and their family. 

“I moved into the apartment about two years ago with my son and youngest daughter. My two older daughters had gone their separate ways. Living in the Phoenix Pass is very much like living in a regular community. You have neighbors, and different activities going on like Christmas parties for the kids and birthday celebrations.”  

Some of the Phoenix Pass priorities include providing the highest quality of housing and amenities to residents participating in the program, providing the highest quality of life skills and mentoring programs to guide Program Partners through their transition, and to economically develop Rockdale County by helping citizens pursue productive and rewarding citizenry.

“While living there, you were you had to attend mandatory classes, but they were very beneficial. They had classes on finance, nutrition, resume building, job preparation, and more.” It was through classes similar to these that Yantis heard about the Habitat for Humanity program. After learning more about it, she applied for the program and was accepted. Now, in mere weeks, she and her son will be moving into a brand new three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. 

And despite working in the morning at Hardees, in the evening at Papa Johns’ and taking courses at Georgia Perimeter to get her radiology technician degree, Yantis has managed to put in over 200 hours working with Habitat for Humanity on her new house.

Yantis is “very excited, and a little apprehensive” about the move. However, she feels entirely confident that she and her son will be able to thrive and live comfortably together thanks to the foundation and support of the Phoenix Pass Program. 

For more information on Phoenix Pass, visit or call Executive Director Marcie Howington at (770) 760-1020.