RITI Coordinators, please sign in here. For more information contact Room In The Inn Director Paul Hanneman.
History of Room In The Inn
Since 1996, the Urban Ministry Center has partnered with colleges and congregations of many faiths to open their facilities to provide shelter and food for homeless people during the winter months. Each site offers a warm, safe place to
sleep, serves three meals (dinner, breakfast and bag lunch) and then returns guests the following morning to uptown Charlotte. The program is a unique way for people of faith to become directly involved with people who are homeless. The
the issue.simple goal is to keep homeless people from freezing on cold winter nights. A greater goal is to provide a more personal relationship to homeless people, at least for a night, and a deeper understanding of the depth and complexity of
Whom We Serve
In the 2011-2012 season, Room In The Inn provided a total of 17,184 overnight accommodations to 1,555 different people. While many services at Urban Ministry Center are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, RITI accepts people into the program on the following priority basis:
- Women or men with children
- Senior men (age 60+) or men with a disability
How Room In
the Inn Works
Participants queue up at the back door of the Urban Ministry Center around 4:00 p.m. for a carefully formatted intake and registration process. Each person is breathalyzed and must show state-issued identification or receive a waiver from our staff. Each person is entered into our database to help us determine who is using the program and how often. An off-duty police officer is onsite at all times.
Last year, 130 congregations and colleges partnered with us by taking in 12-14 homeless people on their assigned evening. On any given night, we have 10 to 15 host sites throughout Charlotte. These organizations pick up our neighbors and then take them back to the host facility for a hot meal and an evening of fellowship, movies, etc. In some cases, our neighbors can use telephones, showers and laundry facilities. The host group recruits volunteers who spend the night with their homeless neighbors, serve breakfast in the morning, and then drive the neighbors back to uptown Charlotte in the morning.
Each year, an estimated 5,000 Room In The Inn volunteers throughout the community help in some way: registering neighbors, driving, making dinner, serving dinner, chaperoning overnight, making sandwiches for lunch, or simply sharing a meal and conversation.
Writes one grateful neighbor: “For moments each night, if I am fortunate, I sleep not as homeless in the street, but with warmth and friendship, thanks to Room In The Inn. Somewhere during the evenings of friendly faces, piping hot showers, videos and jokes, laughs and sharing a smoke break, I was transformed from homeless to someone with a misfortune. I no longer view the world from ground level, where each may look down on me. I view the world from ground zero, where each may view my launch.“I thank you, all who volunteer for this program.You have given me fortitude, I am sure that I am not alone in this.”
No name given
Photo above: Homeless neighbors and members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church share a meal.