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Offering a beacon of hope for struggling families
Phoenix Pass transitional housing to break ground July 9
Multiple hands help apply the clay on to a structure that will eventually be used to cast a bronze sculpture of a lighthouse for the Light House Village. - photo by Jeff Beech/Submitted photo

Locals help make Light House symbol 

Students and clients with the Haven House, a respite home for children and adults with special needs located in the Light House Village, took a special trip down to artist Andy Davis’ studio in McDonough to lend a hand in creating the bronze statue that will eventually be erected in the Village. The clients smoothed layers of clay over a supporting structure. Out of the clay, Davis will carve the details of the 8.5-foot statue, which will depict a lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s home. A rubber and plaster mold will be made and the finished work cold cast in bronze.

Davis invited similar participation from blind students in Macon when he created the statue of Ray Charles, eventually installed in Charles hometown of Albany, Ga.

Davis met Light House Village founder Jeff Beech at a Party with a Purpose event earlier in the year and Beech proposed the project to Davis, who became taken with the idea.

"We can make a sculpture that can have a huge impact," he said. "Imagine yourself at a low point in your life where you need help. You look up and you see the light of that lighthouse. I think it’s going to be amazing. That’s one of the reason we chose not to put this in the street. It’s in the village itself, in the central part of it. So when they pull in, they know they found a safe harbor."

The value of the sculpture is about $50,000 to $60,000, said Davis, but he is doing the work at a discounted rate. An anonymous donor gave $20,000 toward the project and there remains about $10,000 left to be raised. "At some point we’ll get it done. And I’ll be ready when it is," Davis said.

- Michelle Kim

For women and children who find themselves homeless or displaced during these unpredictable economic times, Phoenix Pass, at the Light House Village, offers a unique opportunity.

Phoenix Pass, a "holistic and transitional" housing and support services program for displaced families, will break ground July 9 on Phase I of a brand new eight-unit temporary apartment building and community center. Another eight apartments will be built in the second phase. The new Phoenix Pass will be part of the Light House Village, a campus of three non-profit service providers located on Sigman Road in north Rockdale.

The project is distinctive in many ways, according to Howard Greer, associate pastor at First Baptist and president of the board for Phoenix Pass. The program started in 2008 as a partnership between First Baptist Church of Conyers and the Rockdale County Emergency Relief Fund and is designed as a hand up rather than a hand out. Clients will be carefully screened and placed through Rockdale Emergency Relief. Once they are placed, they are considered program partners.

"Phoenix Pass will operate under the vision that those who have successfully completed the program will remain in the Conyers Rockdale County community to live, work and contribute the education, life skills and job skills acquired during their tenure in the program back to the community," Greer said. The residents are then expected to transition from Phoenix Pass into the community as productive and self-sufficient citizens.

Temporary housing requirements involve a period of 24 months or less and the partnerships will be designed for a minimum of six months.

The green element is another part of what will make Phoenix Pass and the rest of Light House Village unique. The buildings will be the first multi-family unit to incorporate the new requirements as Earth Craft Certified Homes, constructed for energy efficiency and environmentally friendliness.

Greer added, "We've been blessed to have many people support us already. We've formed a generous partnership with Homeaid Atlanta, Manor Homes and Horizon Builders. We've also been blessed to have received donations from many donors. Among them are the Robert Woodruff Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Philadelphia Soul Foundation, North Georgia United Methodist Housing and Homeless Council, and Second Mile (John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods). In addition, we're receiving operational support for Phase I through United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta."

The project even won notice from rocker Jon Bon Jovi, who chairs the Philadelphia Soul Foundation board. "It contains all of the elements our foundation looks for in a project," he said, commending Phoenix Pass. "In addition to a strong housing component, including the green element, the supportive services are in place to aid the empowerment of these families in rebuilding their lives."

But in order for Phoenix Pass to be successful, Greer noted that community participation is essential.

Churches and civic groups are invited to consider adopting an apartment to furnish. Many people will come through and need resources."Donations of time and materials will be welcome as we raise and maintain annual operational expenses," said Greer.
Phoenix Pass is only one component of the developing Light House Village.

Jeff Beech, president of the Village, explained that the Village "brings together three nonprofit organizations on a 27 acre campus in order to maximize resources and opportunities to better serve those in need of specialized care, which is scarce, if not absent. Each group targets a unique service gap in our society."

When completed, the Village will also contain the Dream House for medically fragile children and the recently built Haven House, a respite care home for special needs children and adults operated by Rockdale Cares. The Dream House will be the only organization in the state to provide a comprehensive home-to-hospital program for abused, neglected and abandoned children who are medically fragile and have no home or family, said Beech.

For more information about Phoenix Pass, contact Pastor Howard Greer at (770) 483-8700 or To learn more about the rest of Light House Village, visit