Local shelter working to provide safe haven for those experiencing homelessness as winter approaches

Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Winter is just around the corner and with that comes colder temperatures, which can be harsh on those experiencing homelessness.

Workers at the Crossroads Community Center say it goes beyond just a bed at night and a couple of meals. It comes down to the assistance they give once people walk through those doors.

“I would be protected by that locked door,” said Dixie Wilson, a resident of the shelter.

Protection behind that lock. That’s what those experiencing homelessness say they appreciate about the Community Crossroads Center.

“I want to get in a room before the cold snaps too badly, so I know I’ve got somewhere to stay, I’m warm, I’m protected from it,” said Wilson.

But even with the help from the shelter, there’s still a gap.

“Biggest concern is housing. There’s plenty of food, The Joy Soup Kitchen supplies food, we supply two meals a day for all our people so the biggest concern is finding housing,” said Charles Young, the shelter’s Operations Manager.

Young said they’re working hard to get people inside, especially families.

“We’re working with the city and the county to demolish the building next door and build a new building and once we do that our offices would move in that building and we would open these rooms up here as family quarters to house more women and children,” said Young.

That’s where Naomi Anderson steps in. She serves as a housing counselor, working to get families in specific the help they need.

“If there is someone that is homeless that’s couch surfing that may be facing coming into the shelter, it’s possible that I can help them if they have a minor child in the home,” said Anderson.

Residents say that without the help from this community center, they don’t know what they would have done.

“It would be really rough for a lot of people because there are a lot of people out in the street,” said David Joyner, a resident of the shelter. “I just thank the people for opening the doors here, being patient with me as long as I’ve been here.”

Noting that it all comes down to never taking no for an answer.

“Do not ever give up. Once you hear no, don’t let it be the end. Ask questions, ask for referrals, reach out to agencies. There is funding to help individuals that are facing homelessness that are homeless,” said Anderson.

Now workers there said they are not taking families right now due to COVID, however, they are working with the city and getting these families hotel rooms for the time being.

The shelter works mostly off donations and private funding so if you would like to help their mission, click here.

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