14:24 PM

Community Impact: Judy House Ministry

Following the passing of his wife, Judy, in 2013, Dan Capobianco came up with an idea to once again fill his Lawrenceville house with laughter – this time from people in need.

Teaming up with two other men, Capobianco launched Judy House Ministry, a faith-based program named for his wife, where once-homeless men are provided housing, Biblical counseling, and a community of peers who encourage each other as they transition to independent living.

As director, Capobianco operates the ministry with Paul Epperson, program manager, and Russell Gray, president of Greater Gwinnett Reentry Alliance, which helps people released from prison re-enter society. A volunteer at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, Gray also volunteers with the Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program (GRIP), which connects homeless inmates with local assistance before they are released from jail.

With Gray seeing the need firsthand at the detention center, Judy House’s first clients were identified quickly and, by the summer of 2013, there were nine residents in the house. Since then, Judy House has served 175 men, according to Epperson. At any given time, four-to-six clients reside at the large house where meals and community are provided.

“Most of our clients get here just after being released from jail,” Epperson said. He identifies the reasons that lead to homelessness as “poor decisions, drugs, and alcohol,” short and simple. The way out is not always as simply stated.

“People can’t go it alone,” Epperson said. “Judy House believes that effective transition requires relationships, and that’s why our program meets people where they are with resourceful information and residential transition to help navigate their crisis.”

The ministry offers a family-setting and support to help clients successfully re-integrate back into the community. Some seek shortterm emergency housing while those who need long-term housing may stay a year until they get a reliable job that enables them to maintain a home.

The Jackson EMC Foundation awarded Judy House a $10,000 grant last year to provide food, household supplies and rent while residents seek jobs and reconnect with their families and community.

For more information about Judy House, visit judyhouse.org.