Pathway House for women approved in east Coweta

A faith-based transitional home for women in need was approved by unanimous vote at the Aug. 21 meeting of the Coweta County Commission. Operated by R.E.A.L. Change, Inc., the Pathway Home on Ga. Highway 34 in east Coweta will provide a 12-month, live-in restoration program for 12 women ages 18-38.

The approval of the rezoning request from RC (Rural Conservation) to O-I (Office-Institution) along with those for a conditional use and variances for the R.E.A.L. Change/Pathway Home on 1.38 acres on Hwy. 34 in east Coweta came with a unanimous vote. That vote will lead to the establishment of the transitional residence on the site of the former Comforts of Home assisted living facility.

The Pathway Home residence will include a faith-based, home-based program designed to help restore women and provide life skills training, according to R.E.A.L. Change/Pathway Home founder Bonnie Wozniak.

Wozniak said she and her daughter, Jodi, founded the R.E.A.L. Change ministry in 2004 and developed Pathway House in Coweta in 2005.

Commenting on various aspects of the residential program, Wozniak said it is not a shelter. Pathway House is a faith-based restoration program that includes a 12-month process. Residents are screened and provided with 24-hour leadership, said Wozniak.

Wozniak said the residents will come from a variety of life settings such as broken homes, victims of abuse, orphans and those with previous drug or alcohol abuse.

“This is an addiction-free setting that uses certified life coaches in a home environment with an emphasis on the home as a ‘community,’” Wozniak told commissioners of the year-long program where residents must commit to the entire process. “(The program features) Christian perspectives and the women can have no violent crime history, no severe psychological issues and no sex offenses.”

Commissioners prior to the vote heard from program graduates or their mothers from Coweta and Fayette counties and from the organization’s board members.

“I was addicted to cocaine. I was labeled hopeless. I was lost, but now I’m found. Now I’m a positive, contributing member of society,” the Peachtree City resident said.

The vote by the commission was unanimous, and came with stipulation that a 5-foot, black chain-link fence be installed on the north side of the property and that it extend 30 feet on either side. The vote also came with 12 conditions.

The proposal was recommended for approval by the county Planning and Zoning Dept. In the recommendation, department staff said the proposed use was similar to the previous use of the property, adding that the designation as O-I zoning is consistent with character area goals to encourage land use to transition to alternative residential uses. Staff also said the proposed use would be in compliance with the county Comprehensive Land Use Plan and would not have an adverse effect on the aesthetic value of the surrounding area.