October 31, 2008
TEMPORARY PARTNERSHIP HELPS FIND OVERFLOW SHELTER FOR WOMEN
Charlotte, NC – Women who are homeless in Mecklenburg County and in need of emergency shelter options have an additional resource through a temporary partnership of county government, a human services agency, and the faith community.
Organizers say that in the month since the effort began, an average of 24 women have been housed at two churches nightly, with plans to expand to 36 women with the addition of a third church. Also, the women receive case management with assessment and referral services from a social worker.
There is a need to provide for overflow temporary housing until an annual winter shelter program, Room in the Inn, begins operating on Dec. 1, 2008, organizers say. The interim project, which began Sept. 29, and will end on Dec. 1, is supported by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) and its Homeless Support Services Division (HSS), the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte Center of Hope, and the faith community.
“This collaboration between CSS/HSS and Salvation Army is working great and has provided urgently needed relief,” said Peter Safir, Mecklenburg County Homeless Services director. “But the cold weather has added stress and demand, and we are now seeking to expand temporary options.”
Safir says there is an increase in homeless persons seeking services and estimates there are more than 6,000 who are homeless in Mecklenburg County; women and children make up 50 percent of that number.
The temporary partnership is a service that supports the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners in its strategies to address the issue of poverty through the Social, Education & Economic Opportunity focus area.
CSS includes four divisions: Women’s Commission, Veterans Services Office, Homeless Support Services and Project Safe Neighborhoods. The department’s mission is to improve citizen self-sufficiency, health and safety through a wide array of quality services and community partnerships.