Statewide Effort Kicks Off To Find Solutions To Homelessness
Posted December 2, 2003 6:14 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A statewide summit kicked off Tuesday to find solutions to homelessness in North Carolina.
Homelessness is wearing a new face with more women and children, along with more teenagers and former professionals. Urban Ministries Community Shelter in Durham expanded last year, so that it could serve single men and women as well as families. The shelter has been close to capacity and the family rooms are full most nights.
"What the new research indicates is that most homeless people don't want to be on the streets," said Philip Mangano, presidential director on homelessness. "They don't want to be in emergency shelters. When you ask them, they don't want a pill, or a plan or a program, they want a place -- a place to live."
There is a new push nationwide to eradicate homelessness in 10 years. Raleigh is bringing together businesses, corporations and the United Way in addition to homeless providers and advocates to work on possible solutions.
Officials say one of the big problems is what is called "compassion fatigue" or a sense of hopelessness.
"We've been managing homelessness for 20 years. I think people want us to get about the issue of ending homelessness now," Mangano said.
Part of the "fatigue" factor comes from the general public, which wonders why the homeless cannot get a job. According to the Wake Housing and Homeless Coalition, most homeless people do work between 75 and 80 percent, but the part-time day jobs they have are not enough to pay for a place to stay.
Last year, officials say more than 20,605 men in North Carolina sought help from shelters. More than 15,000 women and 10,052 children in North Carolina also sought help.