Every Monday night you will find her warm smile greeting clients and volunteers at the front desk. Jacqui has been a regular on the desk for 8 years!
She said the best part about volunteering is interacting with the men and supporting their lives.
“I look forward each Monday to finding out if a guy got the job he interviewed for last week, and if that guy is doing well after his surgery. I just really care about them,” she said.
When asked why she keeps coming back, Jacqui said the shelter is in her blood.
“Sometimes it is chaotic and hectic, but it definitely keeps me grounded and enriches my soul. I am really grateful for my time there.”
Thank you, Jacqui, for all you do to support the men! #NationalVolunteerWeek
Church volunteers more than 30 years at shelter
Group is one of ten to receive the award.
St. Matthew Catholic Church was honored with the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service during a breakfast celebration on Tuesday, April 14th. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the program that showcases North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers.
30 years of Service
For over 30 years, St. Matthew has provided meal services – critical to the stability and well-being of our clients. But their support doesn’t stop there. The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte Ministry team, led by Tom Ellis, exemplifies “best practices” and always finds ways to adapt to changing needs at the shelter.
First Group to support Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC)
In 2013, St. Matthew became the first congregation to support the Housing & Employment Resource Center (HERC). The team consists of 10-12 volunteers who regularly rotate their service on Wednesday evenings to support our clients with job and housing searches.
Volunteers from the church provide weekly support in the commissary to pass out toiletries and clothing. The church also has 4 separate meal service groups that provide lunch or dinner on a monthly or quarterly basis.
12,000 items collected through drives for the basics
Aside from volunteering, St. Matthew also has a commitment to providing basic necessities for the men. All church members are invited to get involved through quarterly drives for socks, underwear and t-shirts. Last year, the group donated more than 12,000 items!
St. Matthew was one of 10 recipients to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. It honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service.
Thank you for your service, St. Matthew Catholic Church! #NationalVolunteerWeek
Photo credit: Barrie Terrell/United Way of Central Carolinas
If you’ve paid any attention to the local news since yesterday [January 6, 2015] , you’ve heard the announcement that chronic homelessness will be solved in our community by December 31, 2016!
The Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2016 initiative is now underway. A lot of conversations and planning have taken place over the past 18 months and I, for one, am proud that our community’s leadership – government, civic, nonprofit, faith, etc. – have finally drawn a line in the sand and said enough, our most vulnerable citizens deserve better! To learn more about the plan itself, I encourage you to go to the initiative’s website HousingFirstCharMeck.org.
The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) is one of many homeless services agencies serving people in our community who are experiencing homelessness and are considered chronically homeless (meaning they’ve been homeless often or for an extended period of time and they have an disabling condition, often mental illness). In fact, MSC provides safe shelter and supportive services to about 200 chronically homeless men each year. In FY2013-2014, 24% of the men MSC moved into more appropriate housing were chronically homeless – that’s over 100 chronically men who moved out of the shelter in just one year! So far in FY2014-2015, about 20% of the moves to more appropriate housing at MSC are with chronically homeless men. At MSC, we know first hand how this Housing First initiative can, and will, work to end chronic homelessness in our community. Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg aligns well with MSC’s mission to end homelessness for each man we serve. That’s why we’re excited about the plan and actively engaged to help the initiative succeed.
By declaring a date certain to end chronic homelessness, our community leaders have endorsed a solid plan that will work with everyone’s commitment. I was proud to stand with so many colleagues and community leaders yesterday as the plan was announced. I’m grateful for Mayor Clodfelter and County Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller for fully committing our local governments to make this plan succeed. I’m grateful to hear my colleague Fulton Meachum, CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority, once again publically declare that homelessness would continue to be a preference for access to public housing. I’m proud of my colleague Dale Mullenix, from the Urban Ministry Center, for committing his agency to manage this project. Our business community, especially Bank of America and Wells Fargo, are to be commended for rallying the business sector around this plan. And last, but far from least, much credit goes to Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. Michael is the mastermind who quietly pulled everyone together and insisted we create a bold approach to solve the problem of chronic homelessness, first for those most vulnerable citizens who need our help, and then as another way to make our community a vibrant place in which to work and live.
The clock is now ticking and there is much work to be done. We will end chronic homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by the end of 2016. But that’s not the end of the story. We will then complete the work of ending homelessness for all in our community. MSC will certainly play it’s part. In addition to our stated mission of ending homelessness for each man, our agency’s vision to realize an end to homelessness in our community through fostering systemic change. Yesterday we all witnessed a seismic shift in our systemic approach to solving homelessness that will prove that, collectively, this community can realize an end to homelessness for all!
I’m always excited about New Years Day because with it comes a renewed vigor to accomplish so many things in life.
At the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC), the New Year is also the halfway point in our fiscal year. By New Year’s Day we can see how much progress our men have made over the past six months, which excites us for the progress to come over the next six months. Please be on the lookout for our community Impact Report to be released in early 2015. In it you can share in our excitement over progress being made at MSC to end homelessness for each man, thus ending homelessness in our community.
As we all think about our New Year’s resolutions, maybe one of yours will be to get involved or become more involved in the incredible success happening at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte?
Happy New Year!
As I bring this series about best practices at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) to a close, I decided to save diversion until the end for two reasons. First, it’s a relatively new, emerging best practice that MSC has been experimenting with for a couple of years. Second, through MSC’s strategic planning process we have decided to formally launch our diversion component in early 2015! So, what is diversion? Kim Walker at the National Alliance to End Homelessness summarized it succinctly in a post she wrote as diversion emerged in 2011. Kim laid out the following bullets and I’ve added some comments relative to MSC’s use of diversion:
- Diversion is defined by the point at which intervention occurs and the type of assistance a household [or person] is seeking – in other words, only use diversion when someone is at the shelter door asking for a place to sleep;
- Diversion reduces homelessness – by helping people determine alternatives, we’ll be able to divert many folks from ever staying in a homeless shelter;
- Diversion conserves resources – I’ve blogged about that before; only use resources when absolutely necessary and only in sufficient amount to get the job done; providing too little in the way of resources sets someone up to fail, while too much is a waste;
- It’s not for everyone, but everyone should be assessed for it – this is one of the reasons that MSC is a coordinated assessment center and provides staffing to complete assessments;
- Service coordination is crucial – it’s the third leg of MSC’s equation to end homelessness: income + housing + support, and I’ve previously written that it may be the most important piece of the puzzle;
- The ultimate goal is a return to permanent housing – again, at MSC this is a goal for every man the moment they set foot into our shelters.
I’m appreciative of the informative way Kim laid out these six bullets and I hope my added commentary gives you a clearer idea of what diversion is and why its a best practice adopted at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. Look for more information as we prepare to roll out our diversion component in late February 2015. It’s one more way that MSC is fulfilling our mission to end homelessness for each man.
I hope you’ve found this latest series about best practices informative. Whether it’s diversion, rapid re-housing, medical respite, SOAR, or employment access, MSC is constantly looking for ways to better serve men experiencing homelessness in our community. Promoting these best practices is also a way MSC carries out our agency’s vision to be a catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness.