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Man turns life around, credits city program
Dakari Davis as his father, Walter Davis Sr., stands with his sons Dakari (in front) and Walter Jr - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
Other help
Howard said there are similar programs available through the city. One he cited is Assets for Independence. If participants are single parents and able to save $2,000, the city will match it and distribute matching funds from a grant.
The money has to go toward buying a home for the first time or for education.
“Basically, they can walk out with $6,000 toward buying a new home or furthering their education. It’s designed to help single parents,” Howard said.
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Walter Davis stood in front of the city council on Thursday beaming with appreciation.
A few years ago he was homeless, unskilled and estranged from his youngest son, but now Davis wore a blue work uniform and had his two sons, Walter and Dakari, standing next to him. He credits the city for the changes.
Davis said Next Step, a city housing program designed to combat homelessness, is the primary reason he was able to escape his bleak situation.
“I really want to thank the city of Hinesville, the mayor and the Next Step program for taking us in and giving me the education and knowledge to step up and be a real man and parent,” Davis said.
According to Kenny Howard, assistant city manager, the program uses both grant and city funds to provide temporary rental assistance and support services for homeless residents looking to make a positive change in their lives.
Howard said participants are able to gain skills on how to be more employable, how to manage their money and how to be a responsible parent. Mentors are also available for support.
“I gained a lot of knowledge from the program. It gave me better work ethics and more parent responsibility,” Davis said. “It’s been a struggle, but the city has been on my side.”
Davis now has a steady part-time job with the county. But, more importantly, he said he has his family. He said city employees who help the program participants gain a variety of life and work skills, also helped him get custody of his youngest son and bring him to Georgia from a foster home in Seattle.
“It’s an every day battle. My boys have been good though. They went through the program with me. They knew about everything that was going on in the program,” he said. “It opened my mind and eyes to being a better father figure and citizen. And that’s what the city of Hinesville has done for me. Now I’ve got to step up and do my part.”
“He’s a great example of what you can do if you’re determined to help yourself,” Howard said, adding that not all participants complete the program due to the city’s guidelines.
Mayor Jim Thomas presented a certificate to Davis, citing his graduation from the program.
Howard said, “One of the things that I hope for him in the future is to gain full-time employment. That’s the determining factor for self-sufficiency,” Howard said.

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