Cumberland County leaders seek input to develop plan for ending homlessness

North Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Cumberland County is asking for your thoughts on developing an action plan to end homelessness in the area.

Helping the homeless is one of the top seven issues that Cumberland County Commissioners have decided to tackle now.

“Nobody asked to be homeless,” said Charles Evans, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners chairman.

Evans says he used to be homeless.

“People looking at me as if I was an alien,” Evans said. “I was ashamed to ask for help.”

Evans says through prayer and the help of family, he was able to turn his life around.

“Everybody doesn’t have family, so somebody has to step in and show them compassion and show love to these individuals as if you’re their family,” he said.

Evans says the county voted to spend about $30,000 to work on a three-year homelessness strategic plan.

“We are going to do something,” Evans said.

The community is asked to complete an online survey to share their opinions on what they think would work best to help the homeless.

The results from the survey will be used to help the county determine which action to take, which Evans said could include building a homeless shelter.

“I think everyone is super happy just to know that people are even talking about it, and hopefully that talk will be followed up with action,” Lindsey Wofford said. “I think there’s a huge need for more caseworkers.”

Lindsey has helped hundreds of homeless people over the years with her non-profit Seth’s Wish.

“A lot of them feel invisible,” Wofford said about homeless people. “Saying ‘Hi, how are you’ makes a huge difference.”

She says men, women and children are impacted by homelessness, especially over the past year.

“This winter we did a lot of hotel rooms on cold nights because the shelters that we do have fill up fast,” Wofford said. “I think especially right now with COVID, everyone has to be looking out for everybody.”

Christopher Gooch is one of the homeless living in Fayetteville.

He said his paycheck isn’t enough to provide stable housing for his family.

“There’s a whole lot of us out here that do need help,” Gooch said. “We’re asking y’all for help.”

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