More than 50 officials, organizers, and representatives from non-profits and faith-based groups gathered on a bright Thursday morning to break ground on the first phase of Phoenix Pass, a transitional housing apartment unit located in the Light House Village campus.
The Phoenix Pass project, a partnership between Rockdale Emergency Relief and First Baptist Church of Conyers, will provide transitional housing for displaced families with the goal of resettling them back into the community as long-term residents of the county.
The first phase will build eight apartments with two bedrooms each and a community center. As more funds are secured and the program model worked out, Phoenix Pass will start the second phase of construction with eight more two-bedroom apartments.
Organizers hope to finish the first phase by the end of the year.
Maury Wilson, senior board member of Rockdale Emergency Relief and board member of Phoenix Pass, said RER would encounter abandoned families and had long wanted to pursue a transitional housing project.
"Over the years we’ve accommodated them the best that we could with the resources that we had. When we tried to approach the idea of transitional housing, a road block and hurdle presented itself every single time. How grateful Rockdale Emergency Relief is for all of you,“ he said.
Howard Greer, associate pastor at First Baptist and president of Phoenix Pass, also thanked the community.
"We are not government sponsored and supported," he said. "We are sponsored and supported by the families of Rockdale County. "
Ashley Roesler, executive director of RER, agreed. "It representes what this county is about: partnership, taking care of one another and figuring out the solution and making it a reality," she said.
Officials also thanked Manor Homes and Horizon Home Builders for donating materials, time and in-kind services to help build Phoenix Pass.
Jeff Beech, president of the Light House Village, said “We want to build a neighborhood that anyone would drive in and feel welcome. You’ll hear the voices of children and see lights on in the windows. What will be a little different is that the light that emanates from each and every house will be because of God’s blessings. Without God’s blessing and provision, we would not be here at all.”