New Initiative Allows MSC to Support Families
The Johnson family has a lot to look forward to in 2016. The family of 3 has their own apartment and a network of supporters.
“It might not be the best place, but it’s ours,” said Gwen.
Ryland, Gwen and baby Ibraheem, just 5 weeks old at the time, arrived at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte one early morning in June. The Johnson family moved to the Queen City from Philadelphia a week earlier. Plans to stay with family didn’t work out, and the women’s shelter was full. With Ryland just starting a new job, they had nowhere to turn.
With the help of Diversion Case Managers, the family was temporarily moved into a hotel while our Housing Specialist helped them search for an apartment. Most importantly, we kept the family together.
“They made sure we had a safe, comfortable place to be. We didn’t have to worry about where to give the baby a bath or having a place to sleep,” Gwen said.
Avoiding Shelter Stays
MSC launched our diversion initiative in March, 2015, which has allowed us to help not just men, but families as well. The best practice is meant to provide an immediate alternative to housing other than being admitted into shelter care.
In the Johnson’s case, we paid for a hotel stay, then moved the family into an apartment with a temporary rent subsidy and follow-up care from a Case Manager. In 2015, MSC helped almost 70 people avoid staying at the shelter, including several families.
2016 is Looking Up
Gwen is in school to become a medical assistant. Ryland is a supervisor at Bonefish Grill and has received two promotions. They are focused on saving money so they can eventually by their own home.
“We realize we can’t do everything at once. I’m not where I want to be yet, but one day I will be,” Ryland said.
One of the key components to MSC’s success is providing support services to clients while they are in the shelter and after they move into housing. The Johnson family received furniture from Crisis Assistance Ministry as well as money to pay for a one-week stay in the hotel. A Men’s Shelter Case Manager connected the family with healthcare and worked with their landlord to ensure the apartment was safe.
Ryland says without help from Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, he’s not sure where his family would be today. “It’s not an experience I would want anyone else to go through, but it’s good to know there are people that do things out of the kindness of their hearts to help.”
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