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The December 2005 newsletter, print version

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Past Issues

   

The December 2005 issue, online version.

   


Five Receive Homelessness Awards:

plaque for homeless awardFive individuals and groups received special recognition for their efforts to end homelessness in North Carolina at this year’s annual conference on homelessness.

“On one cold January night this past winter, we did a count of the number of homeless people in North Carolina,” said DHHS Homelessness Policy Coordinator Martha Are. “More than 11,000 people were homeless and more than 2,300 of them were children. This year’s award recipients are honored for their work to reduce those numbers.”

 


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New ATV Safety Law Goes Into Effect

   

 

Influenza Prevention Awareness Event

 

What can you do to protect yourself against the flu?

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

   

 

Five Receive Homelessness Awards

Five individuals and groups received special recognition for their efforts to end homelessness in North Carolina at this year’s annual conference on homelessness.

“On one cold January night this past winter, we did a count of the number of homeless people in North Carolina,” said DHHS Homelessness Policy Coordinator Martha Are. “More than 11,000 people were homeless and more than 2,300 of them were children. This year’s award recipients are honored for their work to reduce those numbers.”

The recipients of the 2005 N.C. Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs Awards for Excellence include two men who know firsthand what it is like to be homeless. Sam McClean and James Douglas Grissom were honored for their individual efforts.

Award recipients are, left to right, John Bush, executive director, Step UP Ministries; Rev. Rebecca Dixon of Wilmington; award presenter Linda Povlich, chair of ICCHP; Angela Hutchins, director of business development for New Atlantic Contracting Inc. of Winston-Salem; Sam McLean, director of Housing, Urban Ministries of Raleigh; James Douglas Grissom of Winston-Salem.
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Today McLean manages the Helen Wright Center for Women, which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and support services for women who are homeless. McLean knows the special problems faced by these women because he was once homeless as well.

Sam was once a resident of the Urban Ministry’s Ark Shelter, where he worked to overcome a history of substance abuse. His problems had also led to a prison sentence. Within weeks of graduation from the Ark Shelter, he became a weekend relief staff person at the shelter. He moved steadily through the Urban Ministry’s ranks to his present position.

Since overcoming homelessness, Sam has reunited with his family. Today he is the single parent of two children and enjoys spending happy hours with his grandchildren.

Urban Ministries Executive Director Anne Burke who nominated McLean for the award said he has proven himself as an effective advocate. “Sam McLean does not flaunt his former homelessness, nor does he hide it,” she said. “His legacy to all of us is the way he gets us to see past the skin of each homeless person to the beautiful person beneath.”

James Douglas Grissom has spent three decades of his life as a homeless addict and he’s been told twice that he has only six months to live because of his HIV infection. In December 2001 he was admitted to a hospital, weighing 109 pounds and unable to talk or eat. After his release from the hospital in January 2002, he made his way to Samaritan Ministries in Winston-Salem and was admitted to Project Cornerstone, a long-term recovery program for homeless addicts. Although Cornerstone men can stay up to 18 months in the program, Grissom spent just eight months before moving into transitional housing.

December 15, 2005 will mark his fourth year of sobriety. Today James works with men who are experiencing the troubles he once experienced. He is resident manager for AIDS Care Services, which provides help for people with HIV/AIDS. He is currently sponsoring seven men to overcome their addictions through Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and he is a volunteer in numerous community organizations that work with people who are homeless, infected with HIV or have substance abuse problems.

Joanne Viren, Samaritan Ministries Development Director, said Grissom is using his background to help others move ahead. “We believe in James, and in all he has accomplished in turning his life around and in helping others do the same,” she said.

Reverend Rebecca Dixon of Wilmington received the Sandra Wells Peterson award, which is named for a woman who devoted her life to addressing homeless issues before passing away in 2000.

For 16 years, Rev. Dixon has helped Southeastern North Carolina’s homeless. Much of her work has focused on women and children who were victims of domestic violence and are living in the Volunteers of America Willow Pond apartments in Wilmington. She began work there in 1994 as program director and was promoted to Director of Transitional Housing Services in 1999. Willow Pond provides housing to families for up to two years, while they work to transition to more permanent homes. While at Willow Pond, families receive mental health, employment and education counseling, which will help them in their future lives.

Despite working many hours with Volunteers of America, Rev. Dixon has been involved a full-range of efforts to fight homelessness. She is one of the founders of the Tri County Homeless Interagency Council, which includes more than 80 agencies working in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties to end homelessness. Because of her efforts, Tri County has been cited as a national and state model for community efforts to address homelessness.

New Atlantic Contracting, Inc. of Winston-Salem received this year’s corporate award. Since 2001, New Atlantic has made significant contributions to Samaritan Ministries, which runs a 69-bed homeless shelter and a soup kitchen in downtown Winston-Salem.

The company provided project management and labor for a renovation of the shelter in 2001. In 2005, it provided project management and professional expertise on a renovation of the agency’s administrative offices.

The company is a major corporate supporter of Samaritan’s fundraising campaigns, and it makes an annual holiday donation to increase awareness of hunger and homelessness in the community.

New Atlantic’s commitment extends to personal help as well. Members of Walters’ family have worked in the kitchen preparing lunches and a member of the company’s executive team serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

StepUP Ministry of Raleigh received the community impact award. StepUp was founded in 1988 by members of White Memorial Presbyterian congregation. Today more than 160 volunteers and 16 congregations serve Raleigh-area homeless. StepUp provides a full-range of services including meals, temporary housing, job placement, teaching life skills like budgeting and mentoring children.

The backbone of those services is the three-phase, 12-month Life Skills program. During the first two months, volunteers teach participants basic financial literacy skills like how to design a household budget. During the next four months, mentors work individually with participants to understand household management, debt repayment, educational goals, improving quality family time and exploring faith. During the final six months, volunteers work to move participants into permanent housing.

StepUp continues to build on its success. The Jubilee Jobs of Raleigh project was launched in 2004. This program helps participants prepare for employment. The clients have special needs, because two-thirds of them have criminal backgrounds and a third are in recovery from substance abuse. After 18 months, Jubilee Jobs has placed 200 individuals in jobs and 75 percent have stayed employed for more than six months.

 

 

 

 

   

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

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