Families in Cobb Celebrate Having a Home and Stability

Members of the Housing Stability Court program from Cobb County Magistrate Court and the Center for Family Resources

Members of the Housing Stability Court program from Cobb County Magistrate Court and the Center for Family Resources  (Photo: Cobb County Government)

The Center for Family Resources submitted the following article about the Housing Stability Court program:

While the eviction crisis continues across the country, there is good reason to be optimistic for some families in Cobb County.  The very first set of graduates from Cobb County’s Housing Stability Court Program celebrated on May 10, 2024, with a ceremony in Marietta. Eight families who once faced having an eviction on their permanent record can now breathe a little easier after moving through a program that keeps them housed, teaches financial wellbeing and expunges their eviction record.

Last year, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between the Magistrate Court and the Center for Family Resources (CFR) to establish a Housing Stability Court. This innovative, voluntary court program diverts eligible families away from traditional court proceedings and provides them with essential resources to enhance their financial stability.

Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan Murphy addressed the graduates and said that after looking at models nationwide, most communities were not tackling the problem holistically but rather finding small amounts of rental assistance for families who may eventually find themselves back in Eviction Court. Other communities were trying to provide social services and case management but not addressing the immediate crisis presented by the impending eviction.

“So, the Cobb County way is always to do it together and to do it well,” says Judge Murphy. “We bring people together with the resources they need to help their families survive and then thrive.”

The Housing Stability Court is funded by a $1.3 million allocation from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. By combining education, resources, and financial assistance to eligible families, the program can improve the overall financial stability of a family, so they can continue to pay rent without assistance.

Many of the program participants were in attendance, and some said a few words at graduation. Charissica Taylor-Allen says the program changed her life forever. “If it were not for this program, I would probably be homeless, but thanks to you all, me and my son were able to stay in our home. Thank you very much, Center for Family Resources.”

Melanie Kagan, CEO of the CFR, says the educational component is changing the trajectory for the families in Cobb County. “We are so proud of this program, and we are so happy for those of you who have been able to move through it,” Kagan told the graduates.  “Thank you for doing the work and for really putting yourself out there. It is not easy, and sometimes it can feel like nothing is getting better, but every step you take moves you and your families closer to stability.” 

To learn more about the Center for Family Resources Housing Stability Program, contact Housingstabilityinfo@thecfr.org.

Founded in 1960, the Center for Family Resources is a not-for-profit that offers a range of employment, education, housing, support, mentoring, and financial and food assistance services for low-income families in Cobb County, Georgia. Visit www.thecfr.org to learn about our programs and services and/or how to positively impact our community through donations to the agency.