Transitional housing is defined as housing that individuals or families can live in for up to 24 months while they try to secure the employment or education needed to afford permanent housing.

Williamson County currently has no transitional housing, and there are so many people waiting for low-income housing that the waiting list is closed.

The Caring Place, a non-profit agency that serves Williamson County, is trying to establish some transitional housing in Georgetown, and has been given some land that could be used for this purpose. This fall, the agency turned to students from Professor Don Parks business capstone class at Southwestern University to help them research the feasibility of such a project. The students presented their findings to The Caring Place Board of Directors Dec. 6.

The students researched several successful transitional housing models, including ones in Boulder, Colo.; Lafayette, Ind.; and Austin, Texas. They also researched funding sources such as the government, banks and private foundations. In addition, they researched possible partners such as Habitat for Humanity and the Georgetown Housing Authority.

“The students were able to conduct research that is difficult for us as staff members to find time to do,” said Holly Doggett, executive director of The Caring Place. “Plus they bring a fresh set of eyes to the project. The students found some models that we weren’t aware of.”

Doggett said The Caring Place board will discuss the students’ research at their meeting in January and then put together a committee to look at how to proceed on the project. Her goal is to have some transitional housing available sometime between fall 2006 and spring 2007.

The students participating in the project were Hugh Arrington, Katheryn Blankenship, Jeff Bodenman, Alex Casiano, John Charles Colgan, Caitie Gantt, Sarah Garcia, Dillon Gussis, Judd Hellman, Andrew Kennedy, Adam LaGesse, Jessica Martinez, Aileen Mosele, Ty Ragland, Clay Roberson, Adam Stellar and Evelyn Ward.

“This project illustrates how college students can use their expertise to actively contribute to the well-being of the community,” Professor Parks said. “It also illustrates how students can apply the many lessons they learn from their liberal arts education.”