A Weekly Crafting Hour Creates Beauty, Relationships and Healing

January 8, 2024

Roof Above has been selected by Mecklenburg County to operate a new permanent supportive housing community for people who are aged 55+ and experiencing homelessness. This is a critical need in our community as we have seen the age of people in need of homeless services increasing. 

Mecklenburg County purchased a former hotel and is busy converting it to housing. This summer, we moved in 28 individuals from a motel-based shelter for people who were 60 years or older, which was created and operated as a pandemic response. Once renovations are complete, we anticipate providing housing for 100+ people. Stay tuned for details as the project progresses.

When Elena, a volunteer at the motel-based shelter, heard that the people were moving, she asked if she could follow them. She’s been forging friendships with the guests since she began volunteering during the pandemic. She says, “A lot of people just want to talk to somebody. They want to hang out, so I knew that I was needed.”

Elena hosts a crafting hour every week for tenants, something both she and the tenants look forward to. She says, “I like being creative. I like making things with my hands.”

When crafting, items are combined to create something new, whether a thing of beauty or functionality. Mecklenburg County, in partnership with the Roof Above, is creating a similar transformation with this former hotel as it becomes supportive housing for seniors.

Elder care is a calling for Elena. She first began volunteering with seniors when her mother was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. She’d visit her mother in the rehab facility, and she’d make up games and invent activities for all the residents to enjoy. She realized “This is my calling. I want to be doing it in places where it’s helping people.”

Elena invites all the Roof Above tenants to participate even if they don’t want to craft. She believes in asking people what they want and then allowing them to decide things for themselves. She says, “They come out to socialize. I enjoy their company. They enjoy me. We talk a lot. I’m in their age group, so we have a lot in common.”