Home Again in Henry making strides

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Local businesses and volunteers are teaming up to make sure everyone in Henry County has a place to call home.

Home Again in Henry is ramping up efforts to help reduce the homeless population in the area. McDonough businesswoman Jea Gackowski volunteers for the organization, which recently established a partnership with local hotels to get people off the streets.

Gackowski also touted Home Again in Henry’s partnership with the United Way, in particular, as an integral component in her organization’s efforts.

“They have 211, which is a resource that will connect people with different resources throughout the county,” Gackowski said of United Way. “People that are going to work every day, don’t want a handout. They just want safety and to be able to take care of their families. These folks are going to work every day and, through a series of unfortunate events, they’ve run into snags.”

Gackowski also emphasized that funds her organization has received from United Way have been instrumental in lining up fundraisers and resource partners. She added that O.B.’s BBQ in McDonough recently partnered with Home Again in Henry by hosting a crucial fundraiser for the fledgling nonprofit organization.

“Without that, we would have been stuck,” said Gackowski. “It’s regular people helping regular people, and aligning them with resources that already exist in the county or metro Atlanta without creating unnecessary overhead.”

Another Home Again in Henry partner is Hire Dynamics, a staffing service in McDonough that acts as a contact center for manufacturing jobs, as well as office and clerical work. Stacey Elrod works as an account manager at Hire Dynamics, and said her company is “committed to giving people a hand up to reach their next career opportunity.”

“One of the things that makes us different is that we really want to engage in the local community,” said Elrod. “We want to do anything we can to support a wonderful initiative like Home Again in Henry. We want to do our part to help the people in the community who might need a little extra help or extra push to get where they want to be in life.”

Beginning in February Radiant Church in McDonough, a Home Again in Henry partner, is preparing to host Financial Peace University, a money-management course spearheaded by talk-radio host Dave Ramsey. Radiant’s Lead Pastor, Randal McNeill, described the course as “practical, in-your-face and very fun,” while also being biblically based.

He added that he wants to do whatever he can to support Home Again in Henry in its efforts to help the local homeless population.

“I feel like we were supposed to be involved in this in some way,” said McNeill. “They’re not homeless by choice. They’re homeless because of something that has happened, and typically it’s because of choices, bad financial decisions.”

McNeill is optimistic that Ramsey’s program will help people get back on their feet financially.

“It’s benefited people in our church and around the world,” said McNeill. “If we can offer it to people who are struggling with homelessness, it can help them as well. That’s part of the plan with Home Again in Henry -- to educate people so it doesn’t happen again.”

For more information, call 770-626-4800.