On Wednesday, June 15, Moore Place opened 35 new apartments to house chronically homeless citizens of Charlotte. These remarks are from that celebration. Thanks to Rachel Fesko for photographing the event.
My name is Caroline Chambre Hammock, and I serve as the Associate Executive Director for the Urban Ministry Center. In 2012, I had the great pleasure of welcoming you to Moore Place as we opened our doors for the very first time. At that time, while we didn’t know all the names and faces and stories that would come to reside in this building, we did know this fundamental truth: that, in the words of the poet Maya Angelou, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are.”
At that time, we also knew that while the units at Moore Place were desperately needed to meet that ache for home for our chronically homeless neighbors, we could – and we would – do more to end homelessness in our community. Today is about celebrating the journey to these 35 new units of housing – and much more.
With that, please join me in welcoming the Executive Director of the Urban Ministry Center, Dale Mullennix.
This is a day to celebrate. We are going to celebrate this new beautiful building and those who created it. We are going to celebrate the generosity of those whose gifts provided for the construction of it. We are going to celebrate those who give their time and skill and compassion to staff it. And most of all we are going to celebrate those whose lives will be changed by living in it. If ever there was a time we need to celebrate, this is the time.
In our celebrating we shouldn’t forget it wasn’t that long ago very few people believed the community would get behind building a facility for this purpose, or that we could provide permanent supportive housing for 120 of our neighbors who had spent years on the street. Today the dedication of this expanded Moore Place proves that is all changing.
Now the conversation is all about how we can provide the opportunity for those yet to be housed to have a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. Now the conversation is about housing being a basic human right and not a reward for clinical success. Now the conversation is about that which is good for one of us is good for all of us. Now the conversation is about ending homelessness.
Let’s continue our celebration by recognizing the individuals and organizations which provided the funding without which the expansion could not happen. All of our supporters are listed on our recognition wall in the lobby, but today I want to introduce the leading donors. They deserve to be celebrated.
- The Charlotte Housing Authority
- City of Charlotte-Housing Trust Fund
- Mecklenburg County Community Support Services
- NC Housing Finance Agency
- Federal Home Loan Bank and SunTrust Bank
- Myer Park Presbyterian Church
- Home Depot Foundation
- Myers Park United Methodist Church
- The Leon Levine Foundation
- Bank of America
- Christ Episcopal Church
- Eric and Martha Eubank
And, a very special thank you to our leading donor for Moore Place expansion. She serves as a volunteer counselor at the Urban Ministry Center and has been a dear friend for many years. Please join me in thanking Kat Belk.
We sit in front of this magnificent building, but it is always about the people. Now I want you to meet the first tenant of the expanded Moore Place, veteran Ronnie White.
Ronnie, here is the key to your new home. May God bless you and your home.
We have one more thing to celebrate. For all the joy we share today with Ronnie and 34 others who will soon make this their home, the 27 partner organizations which make up HousingFirst Charlotte Mecklenburg, whose goal is to end chronic homelessness in our community, announce today the beginning of a capital campaign to raise $12m to build the next Moore Place type housing facility.[Caroline Chambre Hammock] In closing, we have a small gift for each of you. As we just witnessed, a key is a powerful thing. Soon, 34 other neighbors will receive the key to their new home at Moore Place. And every person present here today is key to ending homelessness. Please take a card on your way out – each card features a distinctive key that we invite you to place on your personal key ring as a daily reminder of our shared work together and commitment to making sure that the ache for home is met for all of our neighbors.
We invite everyone to come inside to visit the new units and enjoy some light refreshments. Tours are also available – please see an Urban Ministry Center staff person in the lobby.
We are grateful to each of you for being a part of our celebration today.