DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Davidson County leaders and business owners are facing a growing number of homeless people unlike anything the county has seen before.

“We went from serving about 180 folks a month with our food and clothing to almost 420 families each month with food and clothing,” said Ashley Phillips, executive director of Davidson County First Hope Ministries.

She’s watched the number of people without permanent housing skyrocket since November.

The shelter is almost full, and 16 families are on a waiting list for temporary housing.

Sandy Motley has worked with Davidson County Medical Ministries for 30 years and says the people she serves are changing as well.

“It’s families and children. 30 years ago, it was a single man on a street, and now it’s senior women. It’s mothers with small children,” Motley said.

Davidson County Medical Ministries, the Salvation Army and Davidson County First Hope Ministries teamed up to form DC Connect in October.

The group is pooling resources and hopes to become an all-encompassing resource hub for people struggling.

Their goal is to build a shelter next to the Salvation Army with those services under one roof, but they need to fundraise $2.9 million.

“These lives depend on these resources…these folks need to live day by day, and they depend on us, so it can be very heartbreaking,” Phillips said.

Business owners are feeling the growing need as well.

“Intimidated…scared for my employees. I didn’t really know what to do,” said Roy Hulin, owner of Royal Fabrication.

Hulin had those feelings the first time he saw people walking out of a homeless camp through his parking lot, and he says they broke into his business.

“They may be harmless, but they’re breaking in businesses, cars, throwing trash down, and it’s not acceptable when you’re running multiple businesses,” Hulin said.

Hulin and his small group of employees make truck beds along Tower Road.

When they moved into the space, they noticed a homeless camp at the edge of their property next to Interstate 85.

Deputies have arrested four people for trespassing and two for breaking into Hulin’s business and stealing merchandise.

They reached out to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

NCDOT workers put up a sign and removed items from the area, but Hulin says there are still people living there.

FOX8 reached out to a spokesperson for the department, and they tell us they do monitor the area, but it’s tough to keep people from setting up camp again.

There are 11 homeless camps the Thomasville Police Department is monitoring and six of them are active.

City of Thomasville leaders are discussing their plans for the homeless population and their talks are in the beginning stages.