The City of Augusta partnered with HUD Region IV, Medical Associates Plus (Federally Qualified Health Center), GA Department of Public Health, the Salvation Army, and other community organizations to host its first-ever "Bridging the Gap Community Resource Fair." The purpose of this event was to connect residents with the help they needed, provide a one-stop-shop where they could meet service providers, and get signed up for resources all in one location. "You can't do things like this without having a team of people who are willing to lend of themselves to meet the needs of others," said Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr.
HUD representatives Shea Johnson and Adrian Fields were also on-site to provide an array of HUD information on housing discrimination, counseling, homeownership, and credit repair. "If I had to take a picture of what I am seeing at this moment, the caption would say partnership brings real impact," said Shea Johnson, HUD Director of Georgia Operations.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (East Central District), Equal Housing Opportunity, Target, and Murphy Auto Group were just a few other partners that brought real impact at the "Bridging The Gap Community Resource Fair. Resources like vaccination vehicles, mobile wash stations, food, and medical vendors were on-site to aid those in attendance. "Today would not have been possible without the number of partnerships and without our partner's heart's being in the right place," said Housing & Development Director Hawthorne E. Welcher, Jr.
Over thirty community organizations throughout Augusta and around Georgia came out to support the City of Augusta, including Safe Home domestic violence center, the Richmond County Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the Augusta chapter of Mental Health America. "I felt truly honored for HUD to reach out to us as an agency and a city within the state of Georgia. I felt like they (HUD) could have gone to any agency and said let's partner," said Augusta Housing & Community Development Deputy Director Shauntia Lewis.
In addition to all the valuable resources provided throughout the day, over 200 attendees were a received free lunch. Thanks to Murphy Auto Group, they also had an opportunity to participate in a raffle that included two bikes and an extended stay at a local hotel. Adrian Fields, Director of GA Community Planning and Development, said, "Today marks a demonstration of what partnership really looks like; multiple partners really impacting the community beyond themselves."