What is Cherokee Family Violence Center’s Transitional Housing Program?

Cherokee Family Violence Center’s Transitional Housing Program is an income-based apartment complex designed specifically for the needs of families that have experienced domestic violence.  It is located in Cherokee County, GA and consists of 72 apartments with on-site supportive services where families can live for a maximum of three years.  It consists of 2, 3, or 4 bedroom unfurnished apartments.  Each apartment comes with its own washer and dryer and basic appliances of stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. The complex is gated and includes a community swimming pool and playground. The lease is held in the renter’s name to help with credit repair and building rental history. Eighty percent of the apartments are Section 8 rental subsidies with the remaining 20% consisting of very low and market rate rentals.  The apartment rental amounts vary based on the type of apartment that best fits your circumstances and income. Rental amounts can be as low as $0 or as high as $500.00 a month.

 

Where is Cherokee Family Violence Center located?

Cherokee Family Violence Center is located in Canton, the county seat of Cherokee County, Georgia. Cherokee County falls geographically on the outskirts of Metro-Atlanta, with suburban cities Canton and Woodstock being its largest cities.

 

What are the eligibility requirements to apply for the Transitional Housing Program?

  • Survivor of intimate partner violence of at least eighteen years of age or (legally) emancipated minor
  • Adult must have primary physical custody of children living in apartment
  • Birth certificates for all living in apartment
  • Social security cards for all living in apartment
  • government issued picture identification (Driver’s license or passport)
  • Must have an income: TANF, SSI, employment, and/or pensions
  • Do not owe to any other housing authority and cleared evictions as evidenced by your credit report
  • Clear balance with Georgia Power – Customer Service #: 1-888-660-5890
  • Willing a desire to participate in program services and meet with their advocate on a mutually-determined schedule
  • Willing to create an individualized safety plan, with the assistance of transitional housing staff
  • Able to safely* live independently, without access to staff or support 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.

 

* The Transitional Housing Program recognizes that the applicant does not have control over the batterer’s behavior or the behavior of people associated with the batterer. The Transitional Housing Program strives to help each survivor maintain the safest life possible, and will not exclude participation or withhold assistance based on batterer’s behavior.

 

How do I apply?

Any domestic violence survivor interested in the Transitional Housing Program is encouraged to call our office at 770-479-1804 and ask to speak to the Housing Advocate to schedule an appointment.

 

What are supportive services?

Supportive services are free on-site services that are offered by the Cherokee Family Violence Center that help support residents heal from the abuse, improve their economic situation, and develop a path to safe, affordable permanent housing.  These services include:

  • Culturally competent advocacy and emotional support, including counseling and case management for both English and Spanish speaking clients
  • Assistance finding and maintaining permanent housing after leaving the program, including Section 8 vouchers
  • Safety planning and safety devices for your home
  • Vocational and employment assistance through community partners
  • Referrals to community resources and services
  • Support groups for adults and children for both English and Spanish speaking clients
  • Assistance in filing emergency protective orders
  • Court accompaniment and support
  • When funding available, free legal representation for divorce, custody issues, contempt’s, or other civil cases
  • Bankruptcy clinics, free bankruptcy representation and credit repair services
  • Assistance in filing for public benefits and disability
  • Access to low cost medical services
  • Financial Empowerment Class
  • Free Verizon Hope Line cell phone program
  • 12 Week Intimidate Partner Violence Course
  • Positive Parenting Program, “Triple P”
  • Free immigration assistance with filing U and T Visas and VAWA self-petitions
  • Access to crisis counseling 24 hours a day in both English and Spanish

 

What are the groups and classes offered by CFVC?

CFVC has support group for adults twice a week, Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesdays, we also have children’s support groups for children 6 and up.  Childcare will be provided for children 5 and under.

 

CFVC offers three classes: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Financial Empowerment, and Triple P.

  • Intimate Partner Violence Course (IPV) – Demonstrate knowledge of the dynamics and warning signs of domestic violence, identify indicators of healthy relationships, understand the effect of domestic violence on children, and increase knowledge of resources in the community.  Success for this requirement will be measured by completion of 12 classes of IPV. We encourage you to take this course your first year because we have found the longer you reside in your apartment the busier you get.

 

  • Financial Empowerment – Financial Empowerment includes topics such as understanding what financial abuse is, differentiating between a financial need and a financial want, developing a spending plan, the effect of credit on your finances, and information about checking accounts.  Success will be measured by a certificate of completion from an approved Financial Empowerment Program. The course is three sessions.

 

  • Positive Parenting Program – The Positive Parenting Program or “Triple P,” is the most extensively researched parenting program in the world. Cherokee Family Violence Center’s advocates format the sessions to give parents help with their child’s problem behaviors while encouraging self-sufficiency. There are two formats parents may choose from to meet this class requirement. Option 1 consists of 4, one hour, individualized sessions with an advocate. Option 2 entails attending 3 seminars on different aspects of parenting. Talk with your advocate about which option may better fit your needs.

 

How long does the application process take?

The process takes at minimum of six weeks and is based on apartment availability.

 

How long does it take to get into the apartment once I apply?

The length of time it takes to get into an apartment depends on whether or not there is a waiting list for the size of the apartment you need. Typically, the process can take from 6 weeks to 3 months if there is not a waiting list and anywhere from 3 to 6 months, or longer, if there is a waiting list. This will depend on appointment attendance, paperwork turned in, and eligibility for the program.

Once you are referred to the property manager the application process moves faster. It takes 24 – 72 hours for the management company to approve your application.  Once that application is approved the property manager informs DCA who then sends out their application and you will receive it 7 to 10 days from the date the apartment management company approved you. Once you complete the application and return it within 15 days to DCA. They will then make sure they have all the verifiable information in your application and if not then they will contact you as to what is missing. Once your application is considered complete by DCA then they contact the property manager to make sure an apartment is ready. Once the property manager identifies an apartment is ready then you will be notified of what they call a briefing date which can be as little as two weeks and as long as 6 weeks. For immediate housing needs, call our shelter at 770-479-4641.

 

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

Please bring your birth certificates and social security cards for all those planning on living in the apartment. Bring a government issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport, etc). Also, please bring in a proof of income.  If it is your first time at Cherokee Family Violence Center you will be asked to complete an intake form at your first appointment.

 

Do you have to have children to live in the apartments?

Yes. Parent must have primary physical custody of the children planning on living in the apartments. If you have an open case with DFCS please bring your case plan.

 

What counts as income?

All applicants must have an income. Income can be employment, TANF, SSI, and/or pensions. Food stamps does not count as income. During the application process, you and the Housing Advocate will review your monthly budget to ensure your affordability.

 

How do I check my credit history report?

There are three ways to check your credit history: online, by phone, or by mail.

1.         Online: Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and request all three reports.

2.         By phone: Call 1-877-322-8228.

3.         By Mail: Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf) and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

 

If you are having trouble and/or would like the Housing Advocates assistances, this step can be taken during an appointment.

 

How long can one stay in the apartment?

As a participant in the Transitional Housing Servicesof CFVC you are eligible to live at Hearthstone Landing with subsidized rent for a maximum of three years. At the end of the three years, if you have completed the appropriate tasks, you may be eligible for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

 

Is there transportation?

CFVC has a van that provides transportation to residents of Hearthstone Landing. Residents must call 24 hours in advance. Medical, school, and work will hold priority.

There is also public transportation that stops at CFVC. There is a fixed route service of the Cherokee County Government. This program is called CATS – Cherokee Area Transportation System. Schedules are available in the CFVC office.

 

What is a Reflection Panel?

On a yearly basis, you will come before a Reflection Panel who will provide feedback to you and your Family Advocate. The Reflection Panel is intended to evaluate how CFVC services areworking for you. This panel consists of two CFVC staff members, you and your Advocate. You and your Advocate will have the opportunity to share with the panel the areas of self-improvement and self-sufficiency that you have worked on and goals that you have accomplished within the year. Panel Reflections will be scheduled at least 120 days before your lease expires. The panel will be interested in hearing how living here at Hearthstone has helped you in the following areas: financial stability, behavioral issues, education/training advancement, child(ren)’s issues, legal issues, and whatever else you identified as a goal.

 

What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?                                                                       

The Department of Community Affairs relies on CFVC to determine whether a resident has met the Program Goals of our Transitional Housing Program in order to receive a Community Housing Choice Voucher.  These goals are to help the families living here:

–       heal from the abuse,

–       improve their economic situation, and

–       develop a path to safe, secure permanent housing.

 

While all services are voluntary while living in our Transitional Housing Program, in order to be considered for recommendation for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, the resident must meet the certain minimum requirements.  These are NOT requirements to live in Transitional Housing for three years, however the tasks listed below must be accomplished to be referred for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

  •  Housing—Maintain consistent housing and utilities for three years, and be in compliance with Section 8 rules and regulations.  Success for this requirement will be assessed in the final year and will be measured by the following:
  1. On-time payment of rent 11 out of 12 months.
  2.  Personal contribution to rent rather than reliance on community assistance 11 out of 12 months in your final year.
  3.  No disconnection of utilities longer than 24 hours.
  4.  Passing all section 8 inspections.
  5. No authorized visitors lasting more than two weeks.

 

  • Income/Education—Increase or maintain your personal income during your second and third years. Income can be from employment, disability, SSI, TANF, unemployment benefits, retirement or child support*. You must maintain personal income for 9 out of 12 months of the second and third years.

 

*If you depend on Child Support as your sole source of income, you can meet this requirement by maintaining enrollment in a Certificate Program, a Two Year Degree, ESL or a GED Program for 9 out of 12 months of the second and third years, if your income (from child support, financial aid, or personal income) allows you to meet your financial needs.

 

  • Participate in a yearly Reflection Panel.

 

  • Intimate Partner Violence Course (IPV) – Demonstrate knowledge of the dynamics and warning signs of domestic violence, identify indicators of healthy relationships, understand the effect of domestic violence on children, and increase knowledge of resources in the community.  Success for this requirement will be measured by completion of 12 classes of IPV. We encourage you to take this course your first year because we have found the longer you reside in your apartment the busier you get.

 

  • Financial Empowerment – complete at least one course on Financial Empowerment which includes topics such as understanding what financial abuse is, differentiating between a financial need and a financial want, developing a spending plan, the effect of credit on your finances, and information about checking accounts.  Success will be measured by a certificate of completion from an approved Financial Empowerment Program. The course is three sessions.

 

  • Positive Parenting Program – The Positive Parenting Program or “Triple P,” is the most extensively researched parenting program in the world. Cherokee Family Violence Center’s advocates format the sessions to give parents help with their child’s problem behaviors while encouraging self-sufficiency. There are two formats parents may choose from to meet this class requirement. Option 1 consists of 4, one hour, individualized sessions with an advocate. Option 2 entails attending 3 seminars on different aspects of parenting. Talk with your advocate about which option may better fit your needs.

 

  • Your three classes, Domestic Violence/Healthy Relationship, Financial Empowerment and Triple P need to have been taken prior to your 3rd year Panel Reflection Review.

 

You will have a maximum of three years to live in transitional housing.

Upon satisfying the tasks for a Housing Choice Voucher, the resident will be referred for a Housing Choice Voucher.

 

How safe is the apartment complex?

The complex is a gated community with an on-site police officer who lives on property to enhance residents safety.

 

What is the guest policy?

This is your home and you can invite guests over accordingly. It will be your responsibility to provide your guest with access through the gate. You must obtain written approval from a Family Advocate for any guest over the age of 14 years of age staying between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. (You do not need a pass for children fourteen years of age and under.)

If your unapproved adult guest is on property between these hours, you will be issued a property warning.  Your adult guest will be given a verbal trespassing warning and if seen on property any time after the warning has been given, he/she can be arrested for trespassing.

If your approved guest has a vehicle, that vehicle MUST have a visible parking pass issued from CFVC, or that vehicle is subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.

 

How much is rent?

Rent is determined by the Department of Community Affairs. The rent will be no more than 30% of your income.

 

What bills am I responsible for in the apartment?

Rent and electric with Georgia Power. Cable, internet, and phone are not required. Water, sewer, and trash are included in rent.

 

Are the apartments furnished?

No. The apartments do have large appliances including washer and dryer. Inform the Housing Advocate that you do not have furniture. We have partnered with Atlanta Furniture Bank and for a $40 money order, you and your family will be guaranteed with beds (includes mattress and box spring) and a sofa. Based on inventory, Atlanta Furniture Bank may provide up to 12-15 household items. Speak with your advocate about a moving plan.

 

Are pets allowed?
No.

 

Is a deposit required?

No, there is no security deposit required to rent one of these apartments. There is a $15.00 application fee. You will be responsible for any damage to the apartment, outside normal wear and tear when you move out. Please keep in mind your deposit for Georgia Power.

 

What schools do the children attend?

The schools in the transitional housing district are:

 

Hasty Elementary                                           Teasly Middle School

www.cherokee.k12.ga.us                                www.cherokee.k12.ga.us

205 Brown Industrial Pkwy                           8871 Knox Bridge Hwy

Canton, Ga 30114                                           Canton, Ga 30114

(770) 479-1600                                               (770) 479-7077

Cherokee High School

www.cherokee.k12.ga.us

930 Marietta Hwy

Canton, Ga 30114

(770) 479-4112

 

 

What are the most common reasons why an application does not get approved?

The most common reasons we see for applications to not get approved either by the Management Company or by Section 8 are:

  • Recent felony convictions and/or multiple drug convictions
  • No consistent source of income
  • Unresolved evictions.  A plan to pay back rent owed must be in place before an application can move forward for a Section 8 briefing.  Our Housing Advocate can help you establish this plan or, if applicable, you may be able to qualify for legal representation to resolve the eviction.

 

What are common ways residents lose Section 8?

  • Having a visitor for over 2 weeks without approval
  • Leaving your apartment for over 2 weeks without approval
  • Not reporting changes in income within 30 days
  • Not passing yearly inspections
  • Not paying rent, utilities, and/or damages

 

How do I know if I have met the requirements for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?

On a yearly basis, you will come before a Reflection Panel who will provide feedback to you and your Family Advocate. The Reflection Panel is intended to evaluate how CFVC services areworking for you. This panel consists of two CFVC staff members, you and your Family Advocate. You and your Advocate will have the opportunity to share with the panel the areas of self-improvement and self-sufficiency that you have worked on and goals that you have accomplished within the year. Panel Reflections will be scheduled at least 120 days before your lease expires. The panel will be interested in hearing how living here at Hearthstone has helped you in the following areas: financial stability, behavioral issues, education/training advancement, child(ren)’s issues, legal issues, and whatever else you identified as a goal.  At the end of each panel you and the members of the panel will have identified what you have accomplished that qualifies you for the Housing Choice Voucher and what is still to be worked on.