Homeless Coalition members held several events recently to meet the needs of people struggling with housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use, health issues, and basic food and personal needs.

“We are working with one person at a time, one day at a time,” said Pam Navey, who chairs the coalition and works as the Statesville Police Department’s community resource coordinator.

Fifth Street Ministries serves many of the homeless population in Statesville and the surrounding area. During 2021, Fifth Street Ministries provided emergency shelter for 418 men, women and children and provided outreached to 81 unsheltered homeless people in Statesville.

The organization also provided rapid rehousing financial assistance to 108 individuals in Iredell, Surry, Stokes, Yadkin and Davie counties.

My Sister’s House and other Fifth Street programs also sheltered 143 women and children fleeing domestic violence.

The state’s January 2021 Point in Time count, a snapshot of each county’s homeless population, indicates Iredell County has a significant number of community members in need of housing. These numbers do not include unsheltered homeless because of COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time of the count.

In 2021, two families, totaling seven people, were homeless. Forty-nine homeless adults were also counted. Of the 56 people counted, 54 were in emergency shelter and two were in transitional housing.

The official report for 2022 has not yet been compiled by the state, and a “modified count” was again in effect this year.


On February 19, G4G Ministries, several churches and nonprofits, and community volunteers sponsored an event at the Brookwood Inn featuring a hot meal, music, clothes from Cochran Street Baptist, EMS Community Response Support Team food and personal needs bags, games, and “Maggie’s Baggies” for kids.

The motel houses many displaced families, some of whom have lived there for years.

Navey said all 250 chicken dinners were served. Volunteers at the G4G tent also met with attendees, prayed with them, and listened to their stories.

A Freightliner veterans group and a group of teens also helped served food and played games for the children.

Organizers also delivered 57 meals and items to displaced families at several other motels in the area. Navey said the coalition will continue to team up with G4G throughout the year.

“It was a great event. It was wonderful to see the community coming together to care for those folks,” she said.

Homeless advocates Rob Harris and Karen Kidd, who are in the process of creating a nonprofit called Foundation of Hope Ministries, recently organized prayer walks at Mooresville High School and North Iredell Middle School to pray for students struggling with mental health issues.

They are planning bi-monthly prayer walks at other schools across the county. “We want these walks to be student-driven — to know it’s okay not to be okay and to reach out for help,” said Kidd.


Navey and SPD Captain Bryan Johnson thanked coalition members for the “amazing work” in the past year. He thanked the group for getting homeless people help with housing, transportation, and treatment for mental health, general health, and addiction issues.

Coalition members recently helped with a homeless-related problems in the Crossroads Shopping Center area that was drawing business owner complaints. Trash, vagrancy, and panhandling were becoming troubling issues in the area.

Instead of enforcement measures, Navey and Johnson devised a plan of action. With the help of some coalition partners, they found another avenue to get help to people in need and to get them on a path to stable housing as well as help improve the Crossroads area as well.

Karen Kidd, who has a relationship with homeless in that area through her work with The Cove Church, drew up and shared a set of behavior rules for those in the area to follow to avoid arrest. The homeless folks and coalition volunteers then picked up two truckloads of trash in the area.

The coalition also raised money to help two folks get bus tickets back to family in Florida who would take them in, and they assisted another couple to get to family as well. Individual personalized plans to assist the five or six others in the area were also devised.

“We will walk with them, get them resources, and work with them to reach their goals,” said Kidd.

“We appreciate the Statesville PD giving us time to put plans into action and action into reality,” added Rob Harris.

Navey added that many of these folks have ongoing mental health and substance-use issues so their needs are not “one and done. If they are still in the same situation in six months, they are long term. Some can get help from the EMS Critical Response Team, but some won’t work with programs.”

She credited community advocates like Harris, Kidd, Steve Byrd, and others for being “the boots on the ground,” building relationships and trust with homeless persons that can open the door to getting them to the services they need.

The group is planning future cleanup events in the area as the weather gets warmer. “The events help to make connections with those in a chronic homeless situation. They are resistant, but some come around to accept resources,” said Kidd.


David Dearman with The Foundry House announced that the organization can now offer five scholarships, each covering 45 days of assistance to applicants who are 28 days substance free. Applications are available on the Foundry House website at

Terri Blankenship with the EMS Community Support Response Team said they have been expanding staff, completing training, planning programs, purchasing items to meet clients’ needs, and connecting to people in the community who can benefit from the team’s services.

Blankenship said the team can serve people who are in addiction or have chronic health or mental illness problems, regardless if they are leaving jail or on probation or parole. “We want to reach them before they become a 911 incident.”

The team is also working on state approval to provide medically assisted treatment (MAT) for those in addiction.

The funds from recent opioid lawsuit settlements with drug makers will help fund these and future programs for those who have substance use or are homeless.

I-CARE Inc. has CARES NC funds available for emergency utilities and rental assistance for those eligible up to $750. The agency can submit a pledge letter detailing the monetary assistance commitment, which is noted on the account immediately.

“The organization also offers a variety of programs and training to offer opportunities for the homeless and people with barriers to get out of homelessness,” said Shelton Moore, director of I-CARE Family Support Services.

Tenants in North Carolina who are facing eviction or struggling with other housing issues now have a new, easier way to get free legal help.

North Carolinians in all 100 counties can call 1-877-201-6426 (toll-free) to connect directly to a team of housing lawyers, paralegals and outreach workers for help. The Housing Helpline is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Drug-Alcohol Coalition of Iredell is planning prescription and syringe take-back events this spring. The organization also has medication lockboxes, NARCAN, and substance use resource guides available. Contact Jill McLelland at for more information.

United Way’s Sara Lewis announced a laser tag fundraiser on March 19 at 11 a.m. for its Love United campaign to assist local agencies, many of whom serve the homeless, mentally ill, or addicted. For information and tickets, visit

The Salvation Army has a surplus of non-perishable food to help those in need. Door Dash is also offering the organization services to deliver food to the homebound who cannot get to the agency’s facility.

Wendy Martin with Goodwill addressed the need for SOAR certified case workers to help homeless people with disability applications. Currently, Fifth Street has one part-time SOAR staff member.

The online course takes an estimated 20 hours and is geared toward case workers who plan to assist individuals who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness with SSI/SSDI applications.

For more information, visit

Martin said another issue for those recently released from incarceration was maintaining medications, especially for those with mental illness. Individuals may be released with little medication, and if left untreated, their mental illness may lead to decisions or actions that land them back in jail.


The coalition’s next Zoom meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6. Contact Navey at to get a Zoom link or to get involved.

%d bloggers like this: