How we treat our marginalized citizens shows who we really are. Here’s how Endeavors is trying to help in NC.
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, a woman sits on a park bench watching her two children race up the playground steps.
Usually, at this time, she is working as a cashier for minimum wage at a local retail store, but her manager recently cut back her hours since the store has been struggling.
Just then, her phone rings.
She feels her stomach drop as she recognizes her landlord’s number on the screen. She is behind on rent, and she knows he is calling to ask her if she has it. Now, all she can think about is whether or not her children will have a roof over their heads next week.
What are the causes of homelessness?
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, two leading causes of homelessness are insufficient income and lack of affordable housing.
Many families that have low incomes don’t have much money left over for basic necessities after bills and rent, let alone enough left over to save money in case of emergencies. However, as we all know, life happens. Your car breaks down unexpectedly. You get sick and have to go to the doctor, or the need arises to begin routinely paying for prescriptions. Whereas some families have the ability to bounce back after unexpected expenses, these seemingly routine incidents can have a crippling effect on low-income families.
As for North Carolina, the state has over 1.4 million people that survive below the poverty line and are therefore at a higher risk to experience homelessness.
What is it like to be a child experiencing homelessness?
Childhood is supposed to be carefree— playing with friends, exploring the backyard, going to school, and discovering who they are and who they want to become.
Unfortunately, for children and teenagers experiencing homelessness, safety and stability are hard to find. This often leads to behavior problems and poor grades. After all, how is a middle school-aged student supposed to focus on school when they’re worried about where they are going to sleep at night?
Additionally, a young person who endures homelessness is at greater risk of experiencing at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). (ACEs include, but are not limited to, emotional and physical abuse, economic hardship, bullying, and discrimination.) These conditions can have long-lasting effects that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
What is it like to be a mother experiencing homelessness?
North Carolina has over 9,000 people that face homelessness on any given night. Around 32% of those are families.
For single mothers, the threat of homelessness is terrifying— you are left worrying about how you will get your children to school, whether you have access to clean water, and if you will have something for them to eat.
Lack of access to medical care is another major concern for these individuals. Mothers experiencing homelessness suffer much higher rates of serious depression than the general population. Without proper treatment, these women face more stress that can cause them to have a harder time caring for their children.
How is Endeavors working to help prevent homelessness in North Carolina?
The plight of people experiencing homelessness is heartbreaking. At Endeavors, we firmly believe in the dignity and humanity of each person on this earth.
Because of this, we have created programs that work to prevent homelessness before people even have to experience it.
Our Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) provides several services to low-income families and individuals who are facing eviction or are experiencing homelessness in Cumberland County, North Carolina.
While this is not an emergency housing program, it assists by providing case management, emergency financial utility assistance, and employment services to the civilian population most in need. It also helps with financial referrals and legal assistance to people facing eviction.
What is the Reveille Retreat?
The Reveille Retreat, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, provides permanent supportive housing, case management, rental assistance, life skills training, and other supportive services.
This program is targeted to Veteran single mothers with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or mental health issues, and their children. Endeavors is trying to break the cycle by providing a permanent, safe, and caring environment.
At the Reveille Retreat, residents have opportunities for life-skills training and receive assistance in finding proper referrals for education and work opportunities.
What is the Bonanza Project?
The Bonanza Project provides permanent supportive housing to individuals and families who have experienced habitual homelessness and have chronic illnesses, disabilities, or mental health issues.
This program offers sustainable housing in a scattered-site throughout Cumberland County. The site also offers services such as case management, rental assistance, and other supportive services. Residents are empowered through life skills training as well as through connections with education and work programs. Case managers at The Bonanza Project help their tenants with managing their symptoms while providing a safe, healthy, stable, and caring environment.
What is the Enfield Home?
The Enfield Home, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, provides safe and affordable housing to low-income adult men with disabilities.
The staff provides budget management, life skills and job readiness training, and intensive case management. Living in a safe environment gives the men the opportunity to focus on personal growth while gaining the necessary tools needed for employment. The goal is for the clients to become self-sufficient and lead stable, successful lives.
Know someone who needs help?
If you or anyone you know could benefit from these services in the Fayetteville and Cumberland County areas, please contact: 910-302-7650 or [email protected]
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.