Rockmart seeks GICH help for housing projects

Print This Post

City of Rockmart GICH assistance
Stacey Smith, Jeff Ellis and Sherman Ross, right, discuss the application process for GICH assistance.

Rockmart city council members have approved a resolution to seek help from the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) during their latest meeting.

The city currently anticipates a broad range of community participation in the housing program and has received letters of support from the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority, Polk County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Family Connection, Habitat for Humanity, churches and businesses.

During the application process, city officials and staff met with community leaders and created a housing team. They learning about approaches and available resources to improve the housing stock.

Sherman Ross, city council member, and Stacey Smith, director of Rockmart’s Department of Community Development, met with other team members. This group includes Vicki Sutton, Brenda Leslie, Jon Forsyth, Debbie Ross, Bruce Day, Tonya Glover, Brittney Hickom, Tamaka Hudson, Chris Culver, Danny Echols, Cathy Matthews, Clint Brock and Sandy McClure.

The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) offers a three-year program of collaboration and technical assistance related to housing and local development.

The objective of the Initiative is to help communities create and launch a plan to meet their housing and neighborhood revitalization needs.

If the request for GICH assistance is approved, Rockmart will receive help in creating and launching a locally based housing plan to meet housing needs and neighborhood revitalization. This will involve technical assistance, collaboration, expert presenters, trainers, facilitation, and consensus building, networking and mentoring.

During the program of technical assistance and cross-sharing the community housing team will: attend two retreats a year with other participating communities, identify issues and needs, available resources and potential objectives, develop new ideas, learn about best practices and available resources and funding for housing and community development, produce a housing plan with objectives and goals and begin implementation of a program of action.

Ross said city officials continue to address local housing needs for Rockmart citizens. He referenced recent approval of ordinances to improve conditions brought about by vacant and abandoned properties identified as dangerous or unsafe.

Noted was the fact that these buildings not only attract criminal activities but also contribute to health issues and a decrease in property values.

Jeff Ellis, city manager, emphasized that abandoned or blighted property can significantly impact any neighborhood.

“Rockmart is not the only community facing these issues,” Ellis said. “It can be a win, win situation when people take responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of buildings they own.”

Read the story on

Georgia Family Connection is a statewide network with a Collaborative in all 159 counties.