The other America, the America of poverty, is hidden today in a way that it never was before. Its millions are socially invisible to the rest of us… The very development of American society is creating a new kind of blindness about poverty. The poor are increasingly slipping out of the very experience and consciousness of the nation.
Michael Harrington wrote these words in The Other America: Poverty in the United States back in 1962. Fifty years later, I think these words sadly still ring true, but I might rephrase the last sentence to read “The poor, especially those experiencing homelessness, are increasingly slipping out of the very experience and consciousness of the nation.” However, we are making progress. In just the past 12 months, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte has helped 495 men experiencing homelessness move out of the shelter and into more appropriate housing. While we have not lifted them out of poverty, we have helped take the first giant step forward.
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.