For 24 hours, starting at 6 p.m. Jan. 30, the Cooperative Christian Ministry tried to count Cabarrus County’s homeless people. The ministry had help from other service agencies as they conducted the Point-In-Time count of the homeless.The American Red Cross, Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network, Church of God’s Children’s Home, Cooperative Christian Ministry, Opportunity House, Serenity House, Veteran’s Services and others helped by counting the sheltered homeless and gathering information on who is moving in and out of the shelters.The harder task was counting the county’s unsheltered homeless.“You have a real hard time finding them because they don’t want to be found. When they are found, they have to move to a new place – so they pretty much try to hide,” said Ed Hosack, Cooperative Christian Ministry Executive Director.CCM has been participating in the count since 2005. Last year Cabarrus County counted 183 homeless people, 137 of those being in families and 91 being children. Hosack said the ministry knows the need is greater this year; they are seeing more people homeless. CCM is concentrating on families, but still has plenty of resources for individuals.He said he hopes the count will help them provide help where it’s needed most.Hosack and CCM program manager Bruce Wells were in charge of counting the unsheltered homeless.But they didn’t want to just count the homeless, they wanted to talk with the individuals about their situations to understand the reasons they are homeless. Wells went to three known homeless areas handing out fliers that invited the homeless for a meal, and to be counted.Hosack also went into to the neighborhood, to Samaritan’s House Soup Kitchen and Samaritan’s Table lunches and dinners trying to get the word out that the unsheltered homeless would get a meal for answering a few questions, and they had the right to refuse to answer any questions. During the Samaritan’s Table dinner at Trinity United Methodist Church in Kannapolis, Hosack waited to see if anyone would come. A 54-year-old man named Randy approached him and said he would meet Hosack. He said he had been homeless for 15 years.Explaining why he is homeless, Randy said, “Most people who are homeless had some problems – be it drinking, drugs, medical or mental problems – that led them there. It is awfully hard to get back from the bottom.”He said his biggest problems are getting food, washing clothes and taking a bath. He also said he was grateful for Samaritan’s Table because it allows him to eat somewhat regularly. Randy said Opportunity House will allow you to bathe, but it is too far way to walk; he usually bathes in public restrooms. Opportunity House was about two miles from the church.As Randy walked away, Hosack said Randy was typical of the long-term homeless, who are usually men. Most women tend to be short-term, opting for the shelters that help get them back on their feet.Just as Hosack was about to leave, a 46-year-old man named Leonard said he was there to be counted. He had been living out of his car for five months.Leonard said he had lost his truck-driving job of 20 years and was back in job training to regain his truck license, but he had run out of money. He will complete his training in a few months, but until he finishes his training, he will not have money coming in.Hosack asked him a series of questions to assess his needs and pointed out that he could stay at the night shelter for at least 30 days – and that they sometimes allow people to stay longer if they are in job training. Hosack told Leonard to come by the crisis center and let them help him until his training is completed.
Friday, Feb. 01, 2013
Recent count gives view of Cabarrus homeless
Ministry works to get handle on those without a home
Executive Director of Cooperative Christian Ministry, Ed Hosack, left, explains what the shelter can offer a homeless man who had been living in his car for the past five months. MARTY PRICE
One of the fliers that Bruce Wells, program manager for Cooperative Christian Ministry, put up for the Point-In-Time count. The sign was posted near a known hangout for homeless people in Concord. MARTY PRICE
Bruce Wells, program manager for Cooperative Christian Ministry, tapes up a flier offering a meal to homeless who were willing to answer a few questions and be counted. MARTY PRICE