5 Year Old Carly’s Act of Kindness

Through her selfless acts of kindness, 5 ½ year old Carly Crysler, teaches us all that you’re never too young to make a difference. Carly, who just started kindergarten, tells me that she has always made art and was even voted Most Creative by her preschool. “It’s just her thing” mom Heather Crysler says to me as I look through …

The Girl Scout Homelessness Awareness Patch has Arrived!

On a humid day in July, six Cadettes from Girl Scout Troop 1513 braved the heat and walked over two miles around Charlotte in the character of Kimberly, a homeless runaway, and Angela, a homeless mother. They were doing Walk in My Shoes, Urban Ministry Center’s educational program that helps participants understand the day to day life of someone who …

LIGHT THE FLAME: Songs of Faith & Solidarity

It was a rainy day in March 2012 when Andrew Harvey, Chris Saade and several participants from their International Academy of Sacred Leadership (IASL) gathered at the Urban Ministry Center to host a lunchtime music event.  During the open mic, held in the small computer room adjacent to the dining room, several UMC neighbors stepped up and shared their talent.

Trinity Episcopal School: A partnership 15 years strong

  “I remember this because her words touched my heart.” As nine-year-old Joanne finished, I turned to look at Tabby—the inspiration for the poem—sitting at my side. Tears were in her eyes. We were at Urban Ministry Center and Trinity Episcopal School’s end of the year party. It was a chance for three Moore Place tenants and three neighbors to …

Making a House a Home

Karen stood over the rocking chair I had motioned her to see. “This is nice,” she said, tapping it slightly with her hand to see how it moved. She paused and looked at the chair intensely, crossing her brow. “Okay, yeah. I’ll take that, I guess.” Nonchalance is Karen’s signature: the time I brought her some donated housewares, among which …

Final Report, 19th season of Room In The Inn

    This season continued a trend we’ve seen over the past few seasons: we had virtually the same number of hosts, neighbors, and beds as we had last year the evening teams welcomed new folks and handled their tasks – including the “dueling computers” at each check-in station – with efficiency and a remarkable spirit the hosts graciously welcomed …

How 58 Personal Questions Changed Many Lives

Last month (January 29-31), the Urban Ministry Center had the privilege of helping lead our community’s largest effort to identify chronically homeless and unsheltered individuals.  With the help of more than 250 volunteers assigned to 29 teams spread throughout the county, we combined the annual “Point in Time,” during which our community literally counts the number of people sleeping outside, …

WIDWID: Why I Do What I Do

  Why this place?  Why these people?  Why me?  One of my favorite projects this year was collecting first-person reflections from volunteers, staff and board members of the Urban Ministry Center.   Liz Peralta Development Team, UMC “When I was a volunteer here, a neighbor asked if I would call his children’s doctor.  I invited him to use my phone …

Understanding our Neighbor’s Needs: 2014 ‘Survey at the Gate’

Since 2010, Urban Ministry Center has taken one day a year to interview every person who comes on our main campus property seeking services to gain a better understanding of the characteristics and needs of our overall population. We call it our annual “Survey at the Gate,” though through the years we have progressed from completing paper surveys literally at …

Moore Place Success Captures National, Local Headlines

When doing the right thing saves millions of dollars, that’s a local story powerful enough to capture the attention of the national media. On March 24, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte released a study of the one-year impact of supportive housing on the lives of chronically homeless people. Focusing on the 85 residents of Urban Ministry’s Moore Place, …

Encouraging Good Health and Creativity in the Kitchen

Spaghetti with fried zucchini, tortilla soup, and pumpkin lasagna are among the favorite dishes made in the monthly Moore Place cooking class, but today it’s a little holiday spirit that’s bringing out the creativity in each participant. I sat in on the December 14 class dedicated to that iconic holiday tradition of decorating cookies, and found an adventurous group dedicated …

Room In The Inn Provides Launching Pad for Family

Room In The Inn (RITI) has just resumed for the 2013-14 season. Founded in 1996, Urban Ministry Center coordinates RITI during the coldest months of each year, providing emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The program relies on the time, talent and resources of nearly 5,000 volunteers from 130 houses of faith, YMCA’s, colleges, and other organizations. It’s one of …

The Evolution of Community Education

As an agency dedicated to eradicating homelessness, the Urban Ministry Center of Charlotte has been working to provide basic services to those in need for nearly 20 years. We understand, however, that our duty is not just to those experiencing homelessness, but also to the entire community. While volunteerism is the most prominent way we engage the community, education also …

HHH: Passion to Advocate for the Homeless

Every Thursday afternoon, a group of people meets in the common room of Moore Place; they all have different stories and paths that brought them to the group but they all share the same passion to fight homelessness. These people form the advocacy group, Helping Homeless to Housing (HHH). HHH is a community meeting facilitated by volunteers Angie Forde and …