Did you know there are homeless families living among us in Cary? This is a thought it did not cross my mind when we moved here. Cary does not look like a community where there could be homeless families.
Here are some facts about homelessness in Wake County:
- More than 3,300 people including 700 children experience homelessness in a given year. (City of Raleigh)
- 81,000 persons (9% of Wake Co population) living at poverty level wages. (Coalition to end homelessness in Wake County)
Last Fall, Anita McClernon introduced me to a local organization that help homeless people and their families in a dignified way. It gives them life skills to step out of homelessness and live a productive life.
This year, we presented the possibility to partner with them to Genesis Mission Committee, and it was accepted. This article is an introduction to this mission with the hope you get as excited as I am in bringing social justice to these families.
The Carying Place began operations in May 1993 as part of the Christian Community in Action. It is a non profit organization. They have worked with over 400 families with near 90% success; their current program supports nine families living in homes owned by TCP. They receive approximately 150 requests for homelessness-related services a month.
Their goal is to help homeless, working families achieve independent living with the help of volunteer support partners. Our support partners and staff provide weekly guidance in managing personal finances, seeking permanent affordable housing, and maintaining employment – breaking the cycle of poverty families have experienced. During a 16-week period, these families are taught the skills required for self-sufficiency through mandatory Thursday evening meetings with their Support Partners. Most families that ‘graduate’ from the program leave TCP with enough money saved to pay for at least 2 months of rent.
There are many ways our congregation can participate in this mission and make a difference in the lives of these local families. Here are some of the ways to help:
- As a SUPPORT PARTNER, this is a 16 weeks commitment to meet with assigned families and help them through steps leading to sustainable, permanent housing. Meetings are every Thursday evening
- CARING SPONSORS – serve as friends and mentors to their assigned families and make informal contact each week.
- CHILDREN’S PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS –care for children of both families and volunteers during the weekly program evening.
- SELECTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS – interview program candidates to determine if the TCP program will serve them well and set them up for a successful, independent living post-graduation.
- MOVING TEAM – help families move in and out of TCP housing, pick-up donated furniture and household items, and assist in organizing storage units and updating furniture inventories.
- MAINTENANCE TEAMS – provide pre-occupancy, routine repairs and maintenance of apartments including painting, cleaning, and minor repairs.
- MEAL PROVIDERS –organize a team from a church, social, or civic groups to prepare and serve meals to TCP families and volunteers at weekly Thursday night program.
- FUNDRAISING EVENTS – help with Spring Auction.
- ADMINISTRATIVE HELP – help with office work: database management/entry, answering the phone, and other administrative tasks.
- BOARD OF DIRECTORS –assist with the administrative and organizational needs of TCP.
- AUTO REPAIR – person willing, available, and able to diagnose and make repairs for car problems families in the program may encounter.
- PROFESSIONAL SERVICES –persons willing and able to provide various services that TCP families may need such as legal, medical, dental, eye care, counseling, etc.
All volunteers need to have a background check, and need to attend a volunteer’s training session that is scheduled monthly.
If you are interested, you may contact The Carying Place at 919-462-1800 or www.thecaryingplace.org
You may get more detailed information about their work, and the next scheduled volunteer training session.
As a congregation we’ll be assisting them with maintenance projects they may prepare for our Great Day of Service on September 1st.
We hope you get excited about this mission and the social justice impact it has in our community.