2018 Leonard Dawson Award Recipient
“Our family has been so excited since we have gotten approved. We are counting down the days now.”
Leonard Dawson, a motivating leader, strongly believed in “Helping People Help Themselves.” His untiring drive to improve the quality of lives of the citizens of Georgia, this region, the nation and the world was magical and evident in everything he said and did. He was a true visionary, advocate, and mentor whose compassion for human-kind positively impacted the lives of many individuals, families and communities and will continue to have lasting effect for many years to come.
Gregory and Tivia Dozier came to Coastal Georgia Community Action as a family that had a lot of hope but not many resources. Mrs. Dozier lost her job and experienced a significant loss in income causing her family to struggle. Mrs. Dozier contacted the agency for rental assistance. After completing an application for the family, staff realized that the Doziers were living extremely over budget, and the home they were renting was a huge part of that; thusly their initial application was denied.
Mr. Dozier requested a meeting to appeal the decision. During the meeting Mr. Dozier explained how they currently handled the household budget and expressed he was willing to do what ever it took to do right by his family. After intense case management and dedication of the father to this family, the financial request was approved. Unfortunately it was too late; the family had received an eviction notice and had to appear in court.
Community Action attended court with the family, advocating for an arrangement with the landlord so the family could remain in their rental to finish out their lease. Once the Doziers finished out their lease, the family moved into public housing. The staff continued to look for other housing solutions, however for the size of home needed for the number of family members in this area put them over budget.
So Community Action turned to it's community partner Habitat for Humanity. An application for a home was completed and in September 2018, the Doziers received notice that they were approved and the building would begin soon. "Our family has been so excited since we've gotten approved," Mrs. Dozier said. "We are counting down the days now. This is like Christmas for us."
The family signed their mortgage with Habitat and they moved in to their new safe, decent, and affordable house in June 2019.
In the span of one year, the Dozier family faced unemployment and homelessness, but they were never hopeless. This family has shown great strength and tenacity towards overcoming every challenge put forth on their path to self-sufficiency. Today, the Doziers are just beginning to fathom the legacy they will leave behind to their children as homeowners, change agents, dream builders, and breakers of generational poverty forever.