By: Cecily Stoute at 13 WMAZ
One Safe Place Macon received another grant of $1 million. This time, it comes from the Macon-Bibb commission as they look to end violence in the community.
In August 2023, it was announced a new family justice center was coming to Macon after the program received $1.2 million from the Department of Justice.
People in Central Georgia will soon have access to the state’s largest family justice center, which provides services to victims of domestic violence.
Last week, Macon-Bibb County Commissioners voted unanimously to spend $1 million on the program, with those funds coming from the American Rescue Act. That’s the law that gave money to local governments during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarah Schanck is the director of One Safe Place Macon. She says the support from the county has been consistent.
“The commissioners since the beginning always expressed their support for what we’re doing because they know this can be something that really changes the you know trajectory of a lot of families in our community,” Schanck said.
This $1 million investment from the county is going toward the construction and renovation of the new building. The Macon Family Justice Center will be the last center built under the state’s Family Justice Center Initiative.
Two other centers were built in Marietta and Waycross. Macon’s One Safe Place will be the largest of the three.
Schanck said it’ll act as a one-stop shop, so families and victims only have to walk through one door to get all the help they might need.
“We’re really hoping that the doors will be open in a year or so. You know the building that we’re looking at, we’re going to have 16 moving in together, so it’s a big building,” Schanck said.
Schanck said the grant from the county speeds up their timeline. She believes there’s a need for this outlet in the community. She wanted to be part of the group that gets it done.
“Macon is the place where if you get the right people at the table, some really magical things can happen and this seemed like one of them,” Schanck said.
Schanck believes there’s a crime problem in Macon and there’s been a demand for a center like this, but the option to provide better care wasn’t always there.
“The need may go up but our capacity doesn’t always go up to meet it, so one thing that’s going to be great about bringing this together is we can be much more efficient and work together so much easier and so we’ll be able to serve better by being all together and if we can serve better people get help easier,” Schanck said.
It also supports the center’s message: “Neighbors serving neighbors.”
“This is the community saying we see you’re hurting and we’ll wanna be here to help you move past that and heal,” Schanck said.
Shank said One Safe Place Macon has already raised over $4 million.
They’re working toward their grand opening, but if you’re in need of their services before then you can call the Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia 24/7 at 478-745-9292.