Men's Shelter of Charlotte

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Carson Dean

In September 2008 I became the Executive Director of the Men's Shelter of Charlotte. I've spent almost 15 years working to end homelessness in North Carolina. After working with homeless and runaway youth in Raleigh, I served as the Director of the South Wilmington Street Center (men's shelter) in Wake County and then worked on Orange County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. I am a former board chair for the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness and former chair of the Homeless Services Network in Charlotte. In 2014 I served as the partner agency representative on the United Way Central Carolinas board of directors.

Thanks!

Happy President’s Day!  I’m sure you’ve seen by now that I’m moving on from the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte soon, so I thought I’d take this last opportunity to say thank you.  I am forever indebted to the Charlotte community for making these past 8 years so enjoyable and productive (don’t worry, I’m not leaving Charlotte).  I’m grateful to the thousands of men experiencing homelessness who have trusted me and our staff to help them execute a plan to increase income, obtain housing, and rebuild a support system in order to end their homeless experience and return to living throughout our community and beyond.  I’m thankful for the tremendous support from thousands of volunteers, donors, churches, foundations, businesses, and civic groups who have helped MSC fulfill our mission and move so many men home.  And, I am forever changed from working with such an incredibly talented, professional, caring, and committed group of people – our staff and leadership team is awesome.  I’m confident that the Men’s Shelter is in great hands and the life changing work of ending homelessness in our community will persevere.  I started this blog many years ago with the title My View from the Men’s Shelter and I have to say I’m going to miss this view because it has been spectacular!  Thank you for allowing me to serve.

Bigger News

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the news about my plans to step down.  I think we (MSC) even titled it “Big News.”  Maybe it is, but I’d like to share some BIGGER NEWS.  Before the end of February, MSC will be releasing our first Diversion evaluation report to the community.  Diversion is a best practice that keeps people experiencing homelessness from having to spend a single night in emergency shelter by helping them find more appropriate alternatives, including family reunification.  The social and economic costs of keeping people out of the emergency shelter system is tremendous, not only for that person or family, but also for the health of the community.

Let me offer you a first look into our upcoming report.  In an 8-month period in 2015, MSC diverted 109 people, which was 11% of the total number of people seeking emergency shelter during those same months.  More than a month after being diverted, we checked in with a sample set of the people and 96% told us they were doing ok and not in need of emergency shelter!  Our cost to divert someone from emergency shelter compares to less than 3 weeks in our emergency shelter and is about half the cost that other programs around the country are anticipating as they launch diversion efforts.  It is MSC’s goal to successfully divert 20% of those seeking emergency shelter by the end of 2018 and early results indicate we’re already halfway to that goal.

So, while the news may be about me for a minute, the real story is how MSC continues to work hard every day helping people end their homeless experience in ways that are best for those we serve and the community in which we all live.  Kudos to our team for staying focused and kudos to those we serve for persevering.

You’re Invited to Make a Lasting Impact

Our Renovation Campaign

By now you may have heard that the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) has undertaken a capital campaign to improve our North Tryon Street campus facility.  The building is over 60 years old and in need of some TLC.  MSC is thankful for the forethought of our previous board of directors who obtained ownership of our property back in the mid-1990s.  We’re not looking to expand our shelter; in fact, we’ve steadily reduced the need for emergency shelter beds since the height of the recession due to our best practice rapid rehousing program (1,500+ successfully moved from shelter since 2012!).  

However, we still need to ensure safe emergency shelter for those in need, while also providing space for our partner agencies to help us meet the medical, mental health, substance abuse, employment, housing, and other supportive needs of those we serve.  Plus, with our growing diversion, medical respite, community care, and employment partnerships initiatives, our North Tryon Street campus is critical to our ongoing success.  Since we’re strategically located near uptown in a place well know to those who need our assistance, improving our current facility makes perfect sense.

MSC was founded by the Charlotte community in 1981 and we’ve enjoyed tremendous community support for over 30 years (thank you!).  We’ve kicked off the public phase of our capital campaign after garnering significant support from the faith and foundation communities.  We’d love for you to consider further investing in our mission by supporting our campaign to renovate MSC’s North Tryon Street Campus Building.  Check it out… https://www.mensshelterofcharlotte.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/76963-MensShelter_CapitalCampaign.pdf

 

For questions or to donate, please contact Randall Hitt, Director of Philanthropy at 704.334.3187 x 109 or Randall.Hitt@MensShelterofCharlotte.org.

6 for 2016

Happy New Year!  After being on vacation for the past two weeks, returning to works feels a bit like I’ve jut been thrown into the deep end and told to swim.  Even so, I wanted to take a few minutes today and share the following 6 Reasons Why MSC is Unique (in no particular order because they’re all equally important):

  1. ROI (return on investment) – one way MSC measures your support is by how many men move home … 1,500 and counting since 2012!
  2. No Labels – MSC wants to help all who are experiencing homelessness, regardless of whether that experience can be labelled chronic, situational, episodic, etc.  We believe homelessness is an unfortunate experience and not a condition to be labeled.
  3. Equation – MSC continues to prove that the solution to homelessness comes through our Equation:  Income + Housing + Support = Home.
  4. Anti-Shelter Emergency Shelter – contradictory sounding but MSC firmly believes there is too much reliance on emergency shelter as a de facto housing solution and not enough emphasis on the tools we use to solve homelessness including diversion, rapid rehousing, and housing first.
  5. Unlimited Chances – we learn through our mistakes and sometimes it takes multiple tries to get it right.  MSC believes in holding people accountable for their actions, allowing them to make their own decisions, and always being there whenever someone is ready to try again.
  6. Transparency – just take a look at our quarterly community impact report to see where we’re doing well and where we need to improve. 

Good thing I already know how to swim 🙂

The Good News Too Often Gets Ignored

Turning on the news these days can be downright depressing.  It seems that all that’s talked about is bad – greed, death and destruction.  Certainly, I’m exaggerating a bit because, after all, good news does gets reported.  It just feels like the negative is disproportionate to the positive, doesn’t it?

Well, at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) we’ve got plenty of good news to share.  Please take a moment and read about Dennis on our homepage – www.MensShelterofCharlotte.org.  While you’re there, take a look at our results in moving men home; the pie chart is full of good news.  The bigger picture is even better: 1,500+ men moved home since 2012!

We’d love to keep you abreast of all the good news at MSC.  If you don’t already, please consider following us on Facebook, LinkedIn and @CLTMensShelter on Twitter (I can also be followed on Twitter @carson_dean).  Our common hashtags are #mensshelterofcharlotte and #movingmenhome.  On our website’s homepage, you can also quickly sign up to receive our enewsletter. 

So, when you start to find the news to be depressing, just check out the good stuff happening at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte! 

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