Homeless Population Growing in the Region - myfoxcarolinas.com

Homeless Population Growing in the Region

Homeless Population Growing in the Region

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The homeless problem in North Carolina is spinning out of control. A U.S. Census report reveals 20 percent of the people in North Carolina live below the federal poverty line - annual income of $23,850 per year or less. North Carolina is home to one of the fastest growing cities – Charlotte. That’s why it may be surprising to learn that poverty areas are growing here. In fact, 33 percent of southerners live in poverty and a quarter of all Americans.

On a typical night in Charlotte, dozens of homeless populate the benches in Uptown. Many of those who reside there, like Brandy – a mother of two with one on the way – say the homeless shelters are full. This is more than hearsay. Many of the overnight shelters reveal they have met capacity. That’s 350 beds at the Salvation Army’s shelter for women and children in Charlotte.

Opportunity House in Concord offers a safe haven for many in the homeless community. It is a day shelter that offers a shower, hot meals, devotion and friendship. Pastor Virginia Herron is Executive Director there.

“Opportunity house ministers to the least, the last, and the lost... those who are homeless and jobless and living on the fringe in our community." Michael Green, a client and a volunteer at Opportunity House agrees. Michael has been homeless for a year. The resources at the Concord facility provide him with hope during hopeless times. Now, Michael is a volunteer who helps alongside a host of other community volunteers.

This week, a group of teens from West Cabarrus Church also pitched in during "I Love Cabarrus Week." They bagged lunches, shoveled mulch and organized a clothing closet at Opportunity House. Micah Trynham, a teen with the church, says "we're giving them the opportunity to live life and have those resources." His pal Dylan Toledano, also a volunteer with West Cabarrus Church, says the benefit is mutual for those who give and for those who receive.

"It helps us become less selfish. It's good to put other people's needs before you," he said. "You get to help people who are less fortunate than you."


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