Providing affordable, community living for people with developmental disabilities and public servants.
Rockdale County is a community built on the collaboration of its citizens. For decades, strategic initiatives have been accomplished in the smallest metro Atlanta community because of this foundation of collaboration. Members of the community continue to demonstrate a commitment to serve the needs of all members of the county, regardless of economic status, race, physical, intellectual or mental capabilities, or zip code.
Despite many challenges, Rockdale has made great strides based on the engagement of its citizens and their ability to actively collaborate across many boundaries. Within education, Rockdale County was the first Georgia school system to peacefully integrate. With regards to employment, in the 1950s when the largest employer in the community, Callaway Mills, shut down, citizens came together and successfully recruited industry to the county, creating thousands of jobs, which continue today. In the late 60s and 70s, citizens pooled their resources to establish non-profits such as Rockdale Emergency Relief and Rockdale Cares to serve the needs of families suffering from economic hardship as well as to serve families caring for members with developmental disabilities.
While efforts to strengthen the school system and to better equip the workforce have been key building blocks in today’s revitalization efforts, affordable housing remains a challenge for many. Specifically, several families in the community with members having intellectual and developmental disabilities recognized the lack of affordable housing options for other families in the county who face the same question of how to best care for these family members with little support or resources.
In keeping with Rockdale fashion, a group of citizens came together to better understand the dilemma and what could be done. Months of meetings ensued, consultative meetings with professionals who brought knowledge and experience specific to housing needs for the developmentally disabled, health care providers, representatives from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), city council members, local government officials, architects, builders, and land surveyors. These meetings revealed the broader need for affordable housing and the potential for a greater collective impact of inclusive community housing.
Rockdale County, once again, demonstrated the its ability to collaborate from inception. The initial vision of Soaring Heights was transformed from being one of developing housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Rockdale County, to be one of developing a housing community for public servants of Rockdale County, inclusive of individuals with intellectual development disabilities.
Provide an independent living option with support services and resources for adults with developmental disabilities.
Provide affordable housing for community support professionals, enabling them to live in the community in which they work.
Provide opportunities for all residents to utilize their time and gifts to engage in the community they reside.