I just returned from a celebration at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s (GUM) Partnership Village Community Building. HUD Field Director Ed Ellis handed over a huge cardboard check ($78,000 worth) to GUM Executive Director Rev. Mike Aiken, and also announced grants totaling $1.265 million to nine member agencies of the Homeless Prevention Coalition of Guilford County (HPCGC).
Attendees included GUM board members and staff, HPCGC members, Greensboro City Council members Sandra Anderson and Yvonne Johnson, and reps for Congressman Mel Watt and Congressman Brad Miller.
Ellis remarked on the unusual unity within Guilford County’s Homeless Prevention Coalition, and on how well we work together and avoid infighting. That was a happy moment for me. We’ve worked hard to build a true coalition among our membership of more than 40 government and non-profit agencies, churches, and individuals in Greensboro and High Point, all of whom are involved with serving the homeless.
Yvonne Johnson noted that it’s harder to get media attention for positive stories like this one — folks coming together and working in unity to serve others. She’s right. Negative headlines make news. A group of folks committed to serving the homeless and ending homelessness is not quite so newsworthy, but in my mind, it is infinitely important to our community that this work is being done.
I spent time talking to Nathan Witherspoon about the good work that he, Manny Matos and Mike Aiken are doing together to offer flexible, caring options to the people they serve through the Weaver House night shelter. I love to hear from folks who have such a heart for serving others. I am so blessed by them.
One of the main themes expressed today is that we all want to see the end of homelessness in our community. We want to reach the day when no one is homeless, when everyone has housing and the services needed to sustain it. I believe in that goal.
UPDATE (01/14/05): News & Record did a story on this today. Read it here. (Note: Corrections to the article: 1) Our group is the Homeless Prevention COALITION of Guilford County, not “Network,” 2) The Point in Time Count numbers published in the paper are from the 2005 count — the 2006 count is scheduled for Jan. 25th, 3) The number “1940” is not an “estimate” of the folks who are homeless in Guilford County, it is the actual number whom we counted last year, and we estimate that the number is higher because we were not able to count in every area, and 4) There are 45 members (agencies, organizations, individuals) of HPCGC, but about 140 people who are involved with the Coalition.)