Josue Mpunga Mwela grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country rife with political oppression, police corruption, and violent conflicts between armed rebel groups and government security forces. Josue describes his homeland as a place where, “You don’t go out on the streets for any reason.”
At just 21 years of age, Josue left his family in the DRC in April 2018 to come to the United States and pursue his dream of becoming a civil engineer. He enrolled in Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) after searching for colleges that “did not require English proficiency.” Josue arrived in Charlotte ready to attend class, but when it came to housing, he had no idea where to go or who to turn to for help. A stranger Josue refers to as a “Good Samaritan” helped him find his way to our shelter for men.
He started at CPCC last summer and attended classes for two semesters, but was unable to continue paying tuition. Months later, he was reading the shelter’s “Daily Blast” (a flyer of daily happenings and resources for guests) and saw an announcement about a free Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technician Course offered through Charlotte Area Fund. Josue jumped at the opportunity!
Fast forward to today, and Josue has earned his HVAC Technician Certificate and is employed at Healthy Home Heating and Air. Josue’s next goals? Find housing and bring his 18-year-old brother to the United States once he graduates from high school. Josue is grateful to the Charlotte Area Fund for giving him a chance, and to staff members Turquandra Davis and April Hood, for being constant supports. Thanks to them, reuniting with his brother in Charlotte is now a possibility!
We learned that Josue’s middle name, Mpunga, is the name of a famous Kasai Tribe Chief. “Mpunga” means “strength and courage.” Living up to his name, don’t you think?
For information on our Employment Program or interest in becoming an Employment Partner, contact Joe Hamby.
Jamell had a difficult childhood after losing his mother and only parent at age 10. He grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, and ultimately found himself in Charlotte with the hope to start a better life. His hopes changed dramatically in May 2018 when he tragically lost his hand in a workplace accident. Nine months and multiple surgeries later, Jamell’s gained a state-of-the-art “bionic” hand made by Apple. He is now safely sheltered and working with Joe Hamby, our Director of Income Services, to find a meaningful career that will lead him out of homelessness.
Jamell’s quote to Joe when reflecting on his accident and situation,”…you live your life, you’ll cope with this. Life goes on and you’re still a part of it. You’re not alone.” Now, that’s resiliency.
Employment and income are key components to ending homelessness for our guests. Therefore, we are grateful to companies like JournalBooks that employ shelter guests.
As Tim O’Boyle, JournalBooks President, states, “Not only have we gained some hard working, dedicated team members, we have been able to demonstrate to our team that we care about the community and run a ‘judgement-free’ organization.”
Recently, JournalBooks hired Grady, a shelter guest, for a full-time custodian position. “The day I agreed to an interview at JournalBooks was the best decision of my adult life,” Grady reflects.
Tim urges other businesses in Charlotte to look to Men’s Shelter of Charlotte as an employment resource. He affirms that, “by giving Grady and other men from the shelter an opportunity, we are helping them on their way to permanent housing and we are gaining valuable employees.”
Men’s Shelter of Charlotte offers a robust employment program and establishing employment partnerships is a critical piece of program services. JournalBooks is one of 37 employment partners that offer hope and stability for our guests. If you are interested in learning more about our Employment Program, email Joe Hamby, Director of Income Services.
Akil had a great day. He received his first pay check from a job he connected to through Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s Goodwork Staffing program. He took advantage of the shelter’s employment services and rides to Goodwill’s Opportunity Campus. Now Akil is working full time! He is that much closer to housing with this great job.
Proudly standing by his side is MSC’s Director of Income, Joe Hamby.
Starting the year off right- Jacob is happy to have moved home. That’s him at the end of last year signing his new lease. He spent a few months at our shelter, following the loss of his job.
At the shelter, he connected with our employment team, secured a meaningful job, and worked hard on his housing goals. Now he’s reunited with his partner and son.