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April 2, 2022 2:06 pm
Guest Host Bill Mixon talks about how homelessness is a real problem even in our City of Winston. Learn what the organization "City with Dwellings" is doing to help better the community.
Hey this is Mike Swick from if not for God podcast our show stories of hopelessness turned and I hope your chosen Truth Network podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing The Truth Podcast Network.
This is the Truth Network you hear from ordinary people instilled with an extraordinary passion together we explore the stories of men and women who take what they love and let God turn their passion into kingdom pursuits now live from the truth.
Your host Robbie Gilmore right leisure to hit sectional people in Robbie Gilmore's kingdom pursuits this morning. These ladies are among these ladies along with their fellow coworkers are true superheroes. Some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure to get to know during the last few years. Most of us in most churches hid ourselves from coded yet. There was a small team of dedicated wonderful people in our community who heroically work through the covert storm. These superheroes work to take care of the community of our neighbors, neighbors, most of us would think would be the most likely to catch and then pass antivirus. These superheroes did this therewith.
A time when most of us were apprehensive and scared for our health.
This team lifted up and supported the love love done some of the most vulnerable of our neighbors are brothers and sisters without roofs.
As Jesus put it the least of these. Jesus said, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me for my personal offered observation.
The staff at city with dwellings center for to address homelessness in the dwelling of community church located in the same center they are able and brave, caring and cheerful, compassionate, dedicated to helping others, energetic, innovative, helpful, knowledgeable, patient, polite, respectful, special, supportive and talented that you might realize.
I really think a lot of them when the response to COBIT hit the organization were superstars. They realize that the most fragile of the home homeless. Our neighbors in need needed extra protection they had to deal with the astronomical problem that there's just not enough low income housing space in our community across the nation in partnership with United Way. These heroes at city with dwellings in the church and the dwelling led a group of volunteers to create new housing while the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters waited in very basic hotel rooms with me this bright and beautiful morning is Kristin O'Connell and Emily Noris. They are a few of the spectacular leaders from city with dwellings in the dwelling. Emily, please tell us a little bit about the effort that was made to create additional housing for the homeless yet so I'm it really was in response to a collaborative effort between the city of Winston-Salem and city went to Eileen's myself as the pastor of the dwelling and and our city. In response to COBIT and I think I messed up in April is April and we started rallying on Bethesda center for the homeless was also a partner in this lease shall turn to pots 65 of our city's most medically fragile neighbors and that was at the Ramada Inn on the north side of town.
But what was really special about the way that this program worked was that it it was really a model for wraparound care.
So not only was there shelter that was being provided through this hotel that there were also folks that were getting reconnected to physical health right to their mental health aide. Every single person who entered into this program, I received a housing plan and meaning that they started to have caseworkers that when they were the prioritized group and that their case managers were then working to do housing that the idea wasn't that they would just be shelter during this pandemic, but they would move from shelter to housing and that's the way that our city has to work is that there's just not enough resources of a prioritizing groups in a normal world that happens through the aspen at scores. The vulnerability index all of that kind of stuff but when you have particular group that you're focusing on a kinder rise to the top.
So this vulnerable medically fragile group became the priority which is all well and good, and you can go through the process. You can get vouchers you can have people that are approved for housing and there's Undine to pay for it and to support that. But on the other side of it. If there is not housing and it's a completely moot point right so as we as we focus our energy on this selected group on, we realize that grade if everybody got there housing vouchers, but there still is an enough housing so Karen Britton who is the landlord engagement specialist that he United Way and had developed a relationship, specifically with a neighborhood called Northwoods and they had a desire to fill their units but they had a lot of down units so they had about 44, 40 units, at least the weather we should explain them units in the weeds on it. If we want. Let let's put it.
Put it this way you could not financially repair those places. The only thing that fired the and yet somehow we will because the volunteer labor because then volunteer labor that the agreement became that the property owner paid for the majority of the material and then we generated at Honda volunteers to come in and actually help physically generate the stock of affordable housing and some of them were easier than others had holes in the volunteers at some of the rooms we were fixing yet and there is that question yet. I mean and get some of them were just simple needed new fluorine and needed some plumbing repairs needed some paint and you can and that was pretty much good. Others looks like the scene from the movie, but some of them I just figured that if I survive 30 minutes of this would posted that they take over the got nothing on you. At that point is, so we we were able to do that in total during that kind of sprints. We ended up doing 23 houses and then those homes were guaranteed for those residents that moved from that shelter from the hotel shelter into those properties, but we've been able to continue our work there through the dwelling and another organization called Spark helps to manage our volunteers and the engagement over there. We've got groups almost every week that are still out there working on homes this summer.
We've got at least five weeks of young people from across the country that are coming to help work on those homes as well so that work. I did not ends. So in communities across the street state that on in Forsyth County. One thing they might want to consider if they're trying to figure out how to come up with some more affordable housing.
There may be some large apartment complexes that are catering to the poorest of poor that have units that just are not economically feasible for them to fix up and some nonprofit might be able to step in and say well if we come together and help you they might be able to do what Forsyth County didn't create some new space.
Yeah, I think there that's absolutely an option. The other thing to look at his private owners that can't afford to get their housing back up to code. So I think there's a lot of actually likes single-family homes that if we were creative and we started looking at the stock of that and could work out that similar deal will help actually like to the work the physical labor of me getting it back up to code. I think that that's another option as well that if you listen to this and want to try to figure this out. Whether it's right for you.
If you want more information on none of the people at the dwelling. Would love to talk to you and I share some information and yet think about some ways to think outside the box and do a little bit better. The faith community, the churches have to figure out a way to stand up and to make a difference, yet it if all of us took care of our family and I gotta say there's some out there that are just too much. Need to much care for some families, but if all of us could do what we could to take care of our own from and got some extended family members that have some some issues. The use of mental health issues. Most families out there have some mental health issues in their if we did that and then we looked after our neighbors in our church help not only take care of our own congregation but adopted the Congress adopted the community and are part they are we could make a huge difference in our world quickly. I know a couple really great churches that the used community centers very low areas and help kids change their laws. We will be back in just a second, that that I was the most in the world on the show this morning.
They are superheroes in my my opinion.
I had a chance to stop in this community help just a little bit and found out more and more and more about how difficult it is to go from homelessness to your life back together and there were people that I have met the have what you would think would be a really simple problem like Mark my car broke down and then it got towed I couldn't make it the work and then somebody stole everything ahead and yet you just want to cry sometimes the been numerous times when asked somebody you know. How are you doing and they said I got all these problems I said would you talk to somebody and they just light up nice and yeah Crist is working with the Crist is taking care of me and you could tell that it just made all the difference in the world to one.
I want Krista disorder. Talk to you about what happens how difficult it is to go from no support system and a small problem turns into a big problem and then turn and that that car around.
There are no problem. Life there will will. I'm sorry yet where are we got a microphone with a little trouble if you will start over again, so I was saying.
I kind of feel like almost no small problems come to city with dwellings losing losing a wallet like you know your stuff stolen. You know the first place. You gotta start to get any of your stuff back is getting your ID which is not either. Even if you had a North Carolina ID before to you have to either go down to the DMV or now to order it online you a duplicate online you have to know your ID number which is actually a surprising amount of folks know but there are also a lot of them on yeah I I would be out a lot and so if you have no transportation and no income and no anything, even for a dollar to get to the DMV. You know, it is no longer as easy as all of us can it go to the DMV and to be kind of a pain to wait in line all day they two hours. The last time I went finally said to heck with this and drove all the way over to Mark to get Monda and I was there a half-hour before the yeah growing up we would get everybody went to the Jacksonville DMV and and if you are someone with no transportation and the company I can Bill Sayers kinda stuck in and set getting a Social Security card is equally as difficult because either, they were closed. You couldn't go there and get it done yet that the office is still closed. As far as we know, we purchased and open up backup sometime in April. But no hard date yet.
We got really lucky that Bree Ferguson with the empowerment project was able to kind of get a backdoor in so will gather paper applications and folks either have to turn in hard copy of their ID turn it in with their application and be without ID for a week or bring medical records and to turn in with that application. If I showed up at the Social Security office and says I really need a new Social Security card is I can't get a prescription filled. I can't go for a job interview. I can't do anything at all without a Social Security card and they say great, give us your driver's license.
I said will that was stolen to say sorry.
Yet they wide and and more likely than not right now, they would tell you.
You can even come in. It is really difficult if all of your stuff gets stolen, and for like income base housing. You've got to have a copy of your eye.
Your North Carolina ID not expired your Social Security card and your birth certificate to get a birth certificate, you often even ID so it can be this kind of you know what, what is the easiest thing to get first that my puzzle and to get all the rest. So if I don't have a birth certificate and I was born in Forsyth County that I've got to go all the what is the county that I was born and asked them for a birth certificate.
I know that be cool if somebody had the resources to do that. But the people we see no we just go online and there are two ways you can either mail in an application or do it.
Each County is a little bit different. What they require and what website they use. Some counties have their own but a lot of onesies on a bigger site called vital check and some every every place requires different things. Some of them you have to include a copy of your ID so if you don't have that kind of back where what part do we start at others.
You don't even have to have any form of ID. You can disorder it and eight I guess just assume it's really you. Which which is really great. I know it sounds kind of sketchy but it's so helpful for the folks that I work with that often don't have the any of these documents, like some places you can use a bill if you don't have your ID but they don't have any bills in their name two different types of birth certificates. There's official birth certificates and then I guess unofficial birth certificate. Yeah, sometimes one works were another one didn't work. Yeah so it's certified and uncertified for affordable housing. Luckily on the uncertified work works and uncertified as always, can be cheaper but Social Security it's actually to get if you've never had a North Carolina ID before the easiest two things to have our birth certificate and your Social Security card, but for the DMV. It's gotta be the certified copy so the point I want everybody listening to understand is you've got absolutely nothing you trying to figure out where to get a meal you're trying to get where to get a shower you trying to figure how to get some clean underwear and you've got to figure out the steps and then all the different things you need and you need to figure it had to get to where you're going and you need to figure out where the webpage is can you imagine doing that I gotta tell you up and help.
I can embed you how to do that well and making sure it's not a scam websites you like a lady came in last week saying she was trying to order her Social Security card online which you can do, but they were in a tractor $20 and it's because she wasn't at the.gov website, so there are all these things that are you know trying to profit off of the confusion that is just natural to like all man I need to get the staying that I think any of us. No matter how you know frantic we are in need of it or just in life we know we need her Social Security card could easily fall for that is something that really amazed me is that a lot of the folks that submit sing in this situation city with dwellings or some of the nicest sweetest most reasonable look after other people types of loving I'm I can't imagine going a week without a bath and you really don't want to be around the his heart as I would try to be a good Christian without a meal, and maybe without a shower and me without having some idea. Yet the church the dwelling is just spectacular. We had I got to see two people accept Christ and get baptized last Sunday we had a minister from the Methodist Church come in and Dibble delivered. Also message the week from that.
We had a Bishop from the Lutheran Church Come in and do absolutely spectacular message and all of you that get to do a sermon. Every once in a while I want you to picture somebody stopping you in the middle your sermon at Tulsa questions that you pick up theological questions asked want on point with this joke that every pastoral intern should have to come and check the dwelling just once, because if you can preach there you can preach anywhere with you to your congregation is full of folks that have next to nothing and then the community that it's the and you got people that live in a housing. The come and enjoy your meals to. But it's really a spectacular not been in churches and sing fights break out overspend and money on a vacuum cleaner right will say that you know you don't. The dwelling is a remarkable community.
I am certain that it is what the kingdom of God looks like you've got every kind of person that's walking through that door and it is. I think what's really really powerful is that as the church. It recasts the narrative around what marginalized communities look like and you do see folks that have nothing and that are downtrodden and that are trying to figure out where they're gonna sleep that night. And yet when they gather for worship in that space. That's not the identity that they have right we get to say really really boldly that you are a child of God.
And all of these other things that you are experiencing. Whether that be mental illness or addiction or recovery. That's us. That's a symptom right of being human.
But that's not who you are and so I think it is this break and it's why you don't see fights about vacuum cleaners. You're just showing up to be God's people were showing up to be in community actually I was having this conversation with the pastor friend yesterday and he said how should I preach the text. This Sunday, which is your always can have the poor among you, and I said I think that the difference that the antidote to poor is actually community.
And so I think that that's what we do as the dwelling and I think that city with dwellings fosters that also because we can look at poor as in a lack of resources, but we can also look at poor as a lack of wholeness of spirit right and so the antidote, I think, than to being poor is that you actually gathering community together and I think that's what we do at the dwelling with got some folks with some real challenges come back with his help.
Many of the milder serious mental illness long the problems dealing with some of these folks just add pleasure. We hope you'll turn back in after the commercial were talking about homelessness this morning on O'Connell and Emily Noris.
They work with the homeless here in Winston-Salem to an organization city with dwellings in a church that's in the same space.
The dwelling and we were talking about how difficult it is to go from having next to nothing to having the place to the work out of the live out of the love life a little bit more.
Krista is a a dispersion specialist still have not had that explained to Millie adequately, but her job is to try and help people get from point a point busy and the different things she does is just absolutely bizarre when somebody steals all that you've got, but people just come in and ask for help in all kinds of different ways. What are some of the things that you've dealt with recently.
We need to allot bus tickets for folks that get stuck here like if oftentimes having to pick hospitals in town that have psychiatric help and the wards that you know if you need assistance in the behavioral health unit.
A lot of folks end up in Winston, especially from like the surrounding counties with better smaller maybe don't have those those resources and so they get out of the hospital, you know, maybe after 10 days and it is here. You know the hospital they put them in an uber nice in a motor city with dwellings with an ox in the oxygen machine blankety-blank machine wasn't even working.
We get a lot of email showing up in cabs and movers in all kinds of crazy situations that are necessary because it's folks that you have somewhere to go home that they are to be inside in that place and they have community support, family, friends, whatever.
And they just find themselves stuck here, because they don't have the money to get a Greyhound ticket back home.
So we do a lot of that you know that we don't just stick them on a bus to get off the bus and yells like some people in the United States government does what we actually have seen us get on the phone and try to find some loving and caring and compassionate family member or yeah we always talk to whoever it is. They say they're going to stay with.
We have them get on the phone with them and then we talk to them just to confirm, you know that they can stay there indefinitely, or until they are stable or very occasionally folks of common that they they actually have an apartment in another place there to stuck here so maybe we can fund their landlord. You know all kinds of notes double check and so were not sitting someone from one homeless situation to another. At least here, we know the resources that are available to folks. We also see people needing help finding resources to pay rent or that are trying to find housing after they've gone an eviction on their record and go into that just a little bit how much more difficult it is to get housing after you've had been kicked out of the yeah it's infinitely more difficult, especially the longer the evictions been on your record. Supposedly, the better it is. But in North Carolina it never goes off of your record so even 20 years from now, it's on your record and you know there are some landlords that have zero tolerance for an eviction so that knocks you of. Maybe you know 50 properties in town that you no longer have even the choice to rent from if you can afford it. You are there 50 pieces of property in Winston-Salem get her body like it. I'm certain there 50 properties that are vacant but probably not for rent and definitely not at an affordable rate.
A handful of places under $800 made maybe a handful yeah, but it's not much more than that. What what I'm seeing.
Personally, just looking around, like all the places I would look if I were going to rent which a lot of folks that we see unfortunately have barriers and and don't even have access to those same properties, which is pretty ridiculous. I'm not seeing much for less than 625 650 and so you need to make three times the rent so he found a place for 600 and you need to be bringing in on paper 1800 a month so not looking. I was in insurance for a long time and not have somebody call up and they just chew me out give me a fit. I'm going all I did was say good morning and would get into a conversation and what it amounted to was they just didn't have enough money to go around.
I got that one check that bounces in that 20 $30 fee and then the next checků And you got that 20 $30 fee then they don't have the money to make the rent they don't have the money did Ed get in absolutely no time at all. The smallest little problem in the world has dug this great big huge financial writer and you've lost a place to live. Yeah what what my dream is because of that, like one little thing can happen to anybody. It just mean any of us in this room and my dream for things would really be there to be a mediator required before landlord files eviction papers and you too can come together with the mediator and and work out what can we do and also think there should be a mediator required after the eviction filing to because there folks left with you know all these back rents that not only do you have an eviction on your record but you would back rent and with that combination. You pretty much can live in a rooming house or you might find a private landlord that is you know fields for you in my life there been times when I head next to nothing. We bought a nice house we we stretched it got something just a little bit out of what we could afford and then the backyard caved in and we had this big great big part point B and we had a $2000 bill that we just never expected that. Luckily for me I had peace of people that I could go to with people that I could count on. I head a support group that could get me out of those emergency situations and a lot of us there a lot of us out there that that you did all you gotta do is go find your job yet. Are you gotta do is is apply yourself enough and get a decent enough job. All these problems go away, but that's coming from a place from group of people that have four or five folks they can pick up the phone and sick I got. I have $2000. I got have it right now if you don't have that community.
If you don't have those groups than the smallest problem in the world can turn into an astronomical problem that what I would like to see is the those of us that claim Christ as our Lord and Savior that were looking after our family and our extended family and our neighbors, and then we come across people need help that we stop and we ask, how can we help without actually passing the $10 bills to everybody we see on the side of the road to say how can we help one a problems bigger than we can handle it. We pray about it. We find all those other people were connected to and help people find the solutions they need and then we need organizations and congregations that reach into communities that we don't normally spend time in. If all the churches worked in a community center in a low income housing area and we had a group of our church members going in and spending time with those kids and we became a resource to the families we could change this place in no time and there some churches out there that do that, unfortunately, to cope with their Lotta churches used to do that and aren't doing it anymore. We need to pray about that.
We need to pray. How can we get connected back into the areas and make a difference in one of them is you can go on kingdom pursuits all webpage and there some links to city with dwellings and the dwelling and you can see what they are doing and if you are community you need to get connected. We come back Chris to talk to us about some of the things you can do to make a difference in this organization and remember go online they would love to answer some questions to help set up something similar in your love for the homeless in the lease.
We come in contact Emily talk about some of it just the name some of the other folks that city with dwellings. The Moravians loaned us one of the brightest and best among them to lead lead the forces a dead rat pastor Russ may note he is just spectacular is probably the reason that I ever got in this they used to do something across from our library in an open field and try to do this out of that field and Ruth Ruth Burke how she was on the board when the board members, and so she actually left the hierarchy all hierarchical I can say that word the big places in the Moravian church and came to be the executive director at dwelling and the Mimi Harding is in your court meaning is part of the AmeriCorps program to end homelessness I believe is the technical name of it. So we've got Mimi for a few more months with us there as she did two years with us pretty awesome. You do that, just a whole staff of people that just a great big hearts walking around trying to do their best with next to nothing to solve all the worlds problems understood that there couple of the folks that work there that go home crying on a regular basis because they weren't able to take care of somebody, but they solve so many problems they make such a big difference in so many lives that it is one of the neatest organizations of same, but there also a lot of churches congregations that that is picked up and help and made a big difference. What are some of the congregations and denominations that had made difference in the last year. You know city with dwellings that the winter overflow shelters provided huge opportunities for community churches to be involved, and we see a lot of Moravian churches that are part of that on Calvary Moravian is a really good partner. They drop off sugar and coffee and creamer regularly on hospitality is definitely one of the key tenants of what of what happens at that community space that we we steward Augsburg Lutheran operates as one of the shelter site so we got a lot of Lutheran partners that are part of it and leave guides at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, which hosts our women's sites during the overflow that we've got partners on the Episcopal Church with got some nondenominational partners that will come and be a part of things, but really you know city with dwellings started as an ecumenical effort led by pastor Russ may Moravian about almost 10 years ago. At this point and it really was not of our downtown churches that rallied to the shelter folks and then from that heaviest remain good partners as it became incorporated as a nonprofit, you got a lot of the individuals that have come through to specially with the construction of those apartment units Have you done it counter a wild guess. Or just make up a number. Oh yeah, I don't not make it up so are our overflow shelters. These enemy we probably have 600 different volunteers that come through during that we had over 800 unique volunteers that have come through and I was actually just during that big big stretch.
I'm to do the affordable housing that doesn't count any of our summer participants will have over 400 people this summer different folks that will come and do that. We've got folks to come down to the community first center and are partnering down there. I would say there's probably a handful, 30, 30 or so. Plus we got weak for students that part of Wake Forest medical students as part of their rotation and some of their requirements come down as well. So there's a really good cross-section of folks that can come and be involved with our neighbors. Thank you, yet you one thing was I got to help with the foot clinic. If you got diabetes you got to pay just unbelievably close attention to your feet.
One small problem.
There just and they had a group of the must've been 20 doctors that came down and they washed the feet fixed any minor medical problem that he checked on major medical problem and then there's a there's a a organization in town that silver shoes, and provides free shoes, fleet feet provides fleet shoes for all the homeless in our area. There are lots of programs going on Chris to talk about how many homeless with got in Forsyth County, Mark Scott what 300 people mapped out. Yeah, yeah, we are close to 300 and folks that are living on the street and there there will definitely be some crossover of those folks with those in shelter just because of the nature of you know, being in and out of shelter and getting in a shelter environment and finding out that maybe you know for whatever reason, whether it's mental health or anything it's just not right for you but yeah were close to 300 how many homeless or Houston. But this dissenter and Samaritan that there must be another hundred that have roofs over there.
He heads on a Probably yeah real quick. What are some things that we can do if I want to help if I want to make a little difference I could put a box in front of my ministers door and put in the newsletter that we can use cleaning supplies, rain, sugar, creamer, coffee so sought shampoo. You can call and ask what you can do to help, and you can pray for city with dwellings in the dwelling city with dwellings in the dwelling and remember we're supposed to be Jesus's shoulders, Jesus and were supposed to email the least of these different laws we come in contact our churches making a difference in the life this is the Truth Network