Davidson County trying to solve problem of homelessness with community-driven solutions

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Several organizations are teaming up to try and solve homelessness in Davidson County.

There are 88 beds are available at Crisis Ministry homeless shelter in Lexington.

“We do have 13 families on our waiting list waiting to get in,” said Ashley Phillips, executive director of Crisis Ministry.

In 2017, the shelter hosted just over 28,000 overnight stays.

Last year, that number grew to over 31,000 and it's trending upwards again.

“We have no place to put them. We have made referrals to other shelters, but as everybody knows we're the only shelter in Davidson County,” Phillips said.

A proposed hub could help prevent people from getting turned away and forced to find shelter further away.

“We're all working with the same clients anyways,” Phillips said.

Davidson County’s solution to homelessness is to have several nonprofits, community colleges and government agencies unify.

“Individual organizations will remain who they are, but it’s creating a better communication model,” Mayor Newell Clark said.

Once a person in need is taken to the hub, he or she will have shelter and access to resources that help with drugs addiction, mental illness and other medical concerns.

“To be effective we need everybody to bring their skills and strength into one area,” said Wayne Meads, of Davidson County Salvation Army.

This is a collaborative approach to help people be successful as they re-start their lives.

“Whoever’s homeless, we can put them on a course of action to transition them out of homelessness because our goal is once you’re in, we need to start the process of getting you out,” Meads said.

Before the hub becomes a reality, some details need to be worked out including costs for a new building proposed to be on land the Salvation Army of Davidson County owns on West Ninth Avenue.

“The final dollar amount of what that’s going to look like will have to be a collaborative effort from not only our faith-based community, our business community, our governmental entities. We all come together to create this,” Clark said.

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