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.
Every day, our newly merged organization provides the full spectrum of services to 1,000 individuals. From street outreach to permanent housing, anyone that experiences homelessness in our community will likely touch at least one of our services. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we highlight our programs, successes, and stories as a unified organization working to end homelessness. #PathToHousingCLT