Helping People In Need

Helping People In Need

Sometimes the possibility of homelessness is one unexpected circumstance away.

The man came to Roof Above looking for help. Passing through on his way from Florida to a new construction job in North Carolina, his car broke down in Charlotte. The repairs took all of his savings and he was stuck in Charlotte with no money, no job and no place to stay. He was anxious to figure out what his next move should be.

The young woman came to Roof Above with her two daughters, looking for help. She held the toddler on her hip and the five-year-old by the hand. This mom had a good job and they were moving into an apartment. She had paid the deposit and two months’ rent up front and taken care of other bills. But because there was no money left to pay back utility bills owed from a previous apartment, the utilities would not be turned on.

When Resource Center staff members Michella Palmer, Janetta Lambert and Michelle Wenz are asked, “What is the most important thing that your team does?” their unified response is immediate: “We help people in need.” Five simple words that offer radical compassion and a way forward.

“We work with people who are not sheltered, who are precariously housed (at risk of losing shelter) or they may be in stable housing but still need essential resources,” Resource Director Michella explains. ”When someone comes to the Day Services Center seeking help, first we determine what are they coming for, to see if we can provide it or if we can refer them to another entity. We work with individuals that need all kinds of things, including bus passes, ID’s, food referrals, and much more.”

Medical issues, large and small, are frequently brought to the Resource Center. “We help pay for medications, and if they are mailed to the Day Services Center, we hold for them for pickup, including insulin which must be refrigerated,” Michella says. Janetta adds, “For urgent matters, we may send people to the emergency room or to our staff nurse to get a referral. If someone is seeking help with substance use, we help them to research treatment facilities.”

In August 2021 the Resource Center will begin offering rapid case management to individuals that do not require intensive case management. Instead of addressing each concern with a different staff member or volunteer, Janetta will work one-on-one to build bridges with people who need short-term assistance navigating systems like Social Security.

What does the Resource Center need? More funding. Every day, 20 people or more come to the center for help. The funding that Roof Above receives from the community helps provide these critical resources that are always in demand.

The man whose car left him stranded in Charlotte was referred to our Lucille Giles emergency shelter, a safe place to stay while he figures out what to do next. Michella authorized payment of the working mother’s remaining utility balances so her family can remain housed. We are grateful for our Resource Center staff and volunteers as they work on the front lines, meeting people where they are and helping them get to a better place.

Sharon McCarthy
smccarthy@roofabove.org
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