Local donor gives homeless Raleigh couple a night in real bed
Posted February 20, 2012
Updated February 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — For the first time in weeks, a Raleigh couple will be sleeping in a real bed Monday night.
John and Lee Venable are part of the nearly 13,000 North Carolinians who are homeless. Out of work for a year and living in their vehicle, their story inspired dozens of concerned community members to come forward with help.
Moments after the Venables appeared on WRAL News Monday evening, calls, emails and a flurry of social media flooded into the WRAL newsroom from people offering money, food and places to stay for the couple.
One woman paid to put them up in a hotel Monday night, where Lee Venable says she's grateful to be able to stretch out and lie down.
It's a far cry from the cramped bucket seat beds they've made in their Mercury Mountaineer SUV. At the hotel, they'll also be able to take showers, a luxury they've learned to go without since being evicted from their apartment.
John Venable, who has been out of work for a year but said he recently found a manual labor job, usually washes up in the bathroom sink of a local Food Lion.
Despite the slumping economy, the number of homeless people in the U.S. has decreased by 1 percent since 2009, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. However, the number of homeless families in North Carolina has risen 22 percent.
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The groups estimate there are 2,000 homeless people on the streets in the Triangle on any given night. Those who are on the move and don’t ask for help can be some of the toughest homeless people to track down. The Venables are among those who travel and find “home” wherever they can.
The Women’s Center of Wake County, Healing Place, Raleigh Rescue Mission and Passage Home are among the Triangle organizations that have been helping the couple.