Stephens, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, decided to carry on the family tradition of being a barber. He opened a shop and had quite a following for 23 years. Until one day, loss of balance caused him to fall. A visit to the ER uncovered that fluid was leaking in his brain and surgery ensued.
Fortunately, Stephens’ life was saved, but he was unable to ever regain his full balance. His livelihood of being barber was lost.
“I was depressed,” Stephens recalls. Drugs became his outlet. He ran through his savings and was forced to live with friends, family, and finally – on the streets.
Finally, Stephens turned to Men’s Shelter of Charlotte where he found immediate refuge, a warm meal, a bed, and basic needs. More importantly, Stephens found a lifeline of support to help him develop a plan to move home.
Stephens’ Case Manager guided him every step. She connected him to resources to boost his income, helped him navigate housing options, and referred him to other community agencies to build a positive support network to sustain housing. Together, they found Stephens an apartment that was a perfect fit. Stephens moved in and now has a new lease on life!
Today, Stephens holds back tears when he reflects upon his time at our shelter. He thinks about the volunteers who “treated with me with such respect . . . making a man feel good about [himself].”
Stephens beams with joy and pride as he reflects on his new home. He reminds his former Case Manager that “this is all possible because of you!”
Sedrick, Dennis, Toronto, and Dayshawn all have different backgrounds. But, they all share an experience with homelessness. And, they all turned to Men’s Shelter of Charlotte for help. Root for them as you learn their stories and celebrate with them as they move home.
Ronald lived in fear. He felt hopeless, depressed and detached from society. Addiction and failed relationships sent his life spiraling out of control.
Ronald was in and out of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte for more than five years. He landed a job and case managers helped him obtain housing – only for him to fall back in his old ways living on the streets.
On July 27th, things changed. Just when he was on the verge of being homeless again, Ronald decided he’d had enough of the rollercoaster ride. He worked the steps of the AA program and found a new job.
Today, he works as a cook at MOD pizza and rents a 3-bedroom home. Ron has reconnected with his kids and spends time with them each week.
“I’m at peace with myself,” he said. “I’m living a simple life today and want to give back.”
Ronald said throughout all of the ups and downs, the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte never gave up on him. He hopes his story will inspire others.
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.”
Dennis is one of 450 men who we helped moved into housing in the last year, ending his experience with homelessness!
Laid off after thirty years of working and struggling with health issues he arrived at our shelter with nowhere else to turn. Immediately he found stability and had basic needs met.
More to the story is the quick action of our case managers and housing specialists. As a team, they helped Dennis apply for disability benefits, helped him find and obtain an apartment, and ensured that he accessed other community support services to maintain his health and sustain his housing.
Dennis moved home and has been there for six months! His hope is restored and now sees a better future.
Dennis’ story and our results of moving men home wouldn’t be possible without our generous donors and volunteers.