During the economic downturn, people have lost their jobs, and families have been forced out of their homes. These homeless families have been appearing in smaller, more suburban areas, such as Concord.
The Cooperative Christian Ministry, established 22 years ago in downtown Concord, has supported several homeless families who are having a difficult time getting back on their feet.
Marshal Smith is the director of CCM's homeless shelter, The Samaritan House , which serves about 300 people a year.
Currently, the Samaritan House is the only shelter in Cabarrus County.
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"We are a suburban area, so we don't see nearly as many people as the metropolitan area," Smith said.
"What we've noticed over the past three years is that there's been a growing number of family housing needs. Primarily, those families are single-parent households. "
The families who come through the shelter are at the bottom of the economic ladder, desperately needing help.
The families are given more than just a bed to sleep in at night. Unlike many night shelters, the Samaritan House allows its individual beds and family rooms to be assigned until the recipients are able to stabilize their lives.
"A person is assigned a bed and then is able to keep it for up to 30 days," said Smith. "Within those 30 days, if they are able to show that they are trying to get a job, then they are allowed to stay another 30 days."
The Samaritan House has 40 beds. There are 24 men's beds, six for women and 10 are reserved for the three family rooms. The shelter also provides three meals a day and toiletries.
The staff at the Samaritan House also helps their clients find jobs. It's all a part of their program called Project Independence.
They provide job preparation classes , clothing to wear to interviews and bus tokens to get to the interviews.
Another way the Samaritan House is helping families find their footing is through their Teaching Houses. A part of Project Independence, the Teaching Houses provide families with a home and lessons in managing money for the survival of their family.
"Once they can put a little money away, they are placed in a house. We require them to put their money in a bank and pay a small rental fee." But the rental fee isn't kept by the shelter. It's collected and saved, and when the family is ready to move into their own place, it is returned to them.
"We return every penny of their rent money," said Smith. "So when the family prepares to leave, they could potentially have $2,000 to $3,000 in their pockets."
Smith says divine intervention has helped the ministries thrive.
"When I came here 4 1/2 years ago, we just had the shelter," said Smith. "Now we have several different ministries and are able to put families in homes. That's God. It's all because of God that we are able to help so many."