Gwinnett Daily Post-U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., got an up-close look at what some young, single mothers and their children go through each day as they struggle to get by in life as he paid a visit to Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children Shelter on Tuesday.
Woodall visited the shelter in Buford to hear about work it is doing to help residents in the area. The hour-long meeting and tour showed the representative what goes on at the residential care facility, which provides services for homeless children ranging in age from newborns to age 17 along with their mothers.
Home of Hope has been in operation since 2014.
“There is a lot of work and good things that are being done here,” Woodall said.
The 45-acre campus off Tuggle Road encourages and teaches residents fiscal responsibility by requiring residents have a job and save at least 30 percent to 50 percent of each paycheck for future rent.
The facility has a maximum capacity of 22 families, and each family stays for an average of six months, something the program plans to continue.
“We do not receive any federal funding because HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) defines us as transitional housing,” Hand of Hope Executive Director Maureen Kornawa said.
During the meeting, Woodall asked Home of Hope officials if they were interested in receiving federal funding in the future. The residential facility raises more than $1 million in private funds.
Kornawa said that if the organization took federal funding, the restrictions that come along with the money would force Home of Hope to change how it operates. It would have to shift from a selective process that vets families to one that opens it to any needy individual to reside in the facility if a bed is available.
“It would be a big leap if we did receive federal funding,” Kornawa said. “There’s a lot of restrictions on it, and just chasing dollars is the wrong thing to do for this organization.”
Kornawa said more than 60 families have completed the program. Each day, however, Home of Hope receives five to six phone calls from people needing help.
“We’re selective in who we invest in and who we accept, because we truly want to help break the cycle of poverty,” Kornawa said. “We’ll do our part as long as they do theirs.”