Who We Are
Within days of his wife’s death in March of 2013, Dan Capobianco had an idea. With his Lawrenceville home empty without her laughter, he would fill it with people in need. While providing them a house to live in, he might again experience joy in his own life.
Teaming up with two other men, Dan 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, Dan operates the ministry with Paul Epperson, program manager, and Russell Gray, president of Greater Gwinnett Reentry Alliance, which helps people released from incarceration re-enter society. A volunteer at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, Russell also serves as volunteer coordinator for the Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program (GRIP), which connects homeless inmates with local assistance before they are released from jail.
With Russell 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, says Paul, Judy House has served 183 men. At any given time, four to six clients might reside where meals and community are provided as part of the transformational housing program.
“Most of our clients get here just after being released from jail,” says Paul. “The jail’s GRIP coordinator might call us at 8 p.m. asking if we have an open bed.” So the reality is the place we want to be, and the place that we don’t want to be are on the same path. We don’t need a new path. We need new directions.
To address the difficulty and a growing need for men exiting various state and local corrective programs, along with those suffering chronic homelessness in the Greater Gwinnett area, action always springs out of what we fundamentally desire. So the thought to provide a clean, quiet, safe house was our solution.
Every one of us wants certain things. We want answers. We want significance. We want to be part of whole. However, people cannot just go it alone. More is always achieved when doing it together, than any “one” can ever do it, alone. Because we believe that every element of effective transition requires relationships- we have put together a transitional service program that meets people right where they are with resourceful information and residential transition to help navigate the crisis.
Every one of us wants some kind of answer if calling for help. We all want someone to encourage us with a hopeful future, and the best way to do that is to give resourceful information and attention to those navigating crisis. The topic of how many calls we field monthly can be well above 40+, however it fails in importance to actually staying actively engaged in the reconnecting of people back into the community.
The difference is that we live here with the men in the transition process. As a family, everyone feels safe, everyone feels they have a voice, and everyone learns the value and role of serving others first in the house, and then in the community. Daily devotional groups along with meal sharing, is an engaging way of being accountable and transparent on the way to sustainability.
The Keys – The Aim and The Object
Providing this affordable opportunity to re-couple those who’ve been disconnected back to vital relationships, takes partners such as yourself, to continue to afford this kind of consideration for the next person. We believe ministry “spotlight” on an individual is extremely important, but focus on others gives each of us better perspective. We feel that people are always relationships waiting to be developed, and not just puzzles wanting to be solved.