Once homeless, beloved cat lady Mama G on the road to recovery
Two years ago, Better Call Harry aired the story of Georgette Westerfield and her life on the streets. That story is on its way to a happy ending.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgette Westerfield is a recovering meth addict. Two years ago, she was on the streets with her four cats, and a group of volunteers were desperately trying to find permanent housing for the woman known to her friends as Mama G.
Westerfield was trying to straighten out her life, and had stopped using drugs six years prior. She was even approved for a free temporary housing program. The funding through the federal government’s CARES Act during the pandemic, gave Atlanta nonprofits $18 million to offer free apartment rent for one year.
Volunteers collected donations to buy Westerfield a bed, furniture, food, toiletries, and cooking supplies. Mama G was temporarily staying at a hotel near the Atlanta airport when volunteers received a call the housing program was on hold. They were afraid she’d be back on the street in days if something didn’t change.
Two of the volunteers, Jennice Ozment and Brenda Linesbury, contacted Atlanta News First consumer investigator Better Call Harry. Cathryn Marchman, the executive director at Partners for Home, an organization battling homelessness in 242 neighborhoods in Fulton and DeKalb counties, said the project was temporarily paused. But she also they were working on an alternative plan to find a home for Mama G.
She was days away from homelessness, but when her story aired, volunteers received a call that she’d been approved for another housing program, and it was permanent.
Today, Mama G lives in a quiet College Park studio apartment. Volunteers convinced her to rehome three of her four cats, and she has pictures with their new owners.
“I’m glad I’m here instead of being on the streets because I was always around crackheads and drugs, and that was a major trigger for me,” Westerfield said.
“I am so proud of her because she’s been through some terrible, rough times, and she’s come through it waving glory,” Ozment said.
Westerfield receives disability to pay her bills, and she spends Saturday mornings in downtown Atlanta feeding the homeless.
She’s also reconnected with her sister after 20 years. The two Facetime each other regularly, and she’s reconnected with her teenage son.
Mama G celebrated her birthday this month, her second year in the housing program, and her eighth year in recovery. She hopes to visit her sister in person soon.
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