Shelter to open on Saturday at Cochran Street Baptist Church in Statesville
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Forty-eight hours after concerns emerged about the unhoused facing the impending weekend winter storm, Iredell Homeless Coalition members banded together to open an emergency shelter for anyone in need of temporary shelter from the icy weather.
After a brainstorming session and calls to community members and county officials after its monthly Zoom meeting on Wednesday, the group secured Cochran Street Baptist Church fellowship hall (964 Cochran Street in Statesville) to serve as a safe, secure emergency shelter this weekend.
The facility, which will hold 40 but can be expanded to other church areas if needed, will be accepting individuals over the age of 18 in need of temporary emergency shelter from Saturday at 3 p.m. through Monday at approximately 12 noon, weather permitting.
Everyone entering the temporary emergency shelter will be asked to take a COVID Rapid Test and will be given a mask. They will also register with their name, date of birth, and contact information. Distancing and sanitation will be a priority. Provisions are in place if any test positive.
Temporary emergency shelter for families at another location is also available if needed.
Since pets are not allowed, if an individual needs pet emergency shelter, arrangements have been made with the Animal Shelter for temporary shelter services.
Please reach out to Statesville Police Department Community Resource Coordinator Pam Navey at 704-902-1637 if interested in much-needed volunteer opportunities to help at the emergency shelter this weekend or if anyone has a referral or need for emergency shelter.
On Friday, Kent Greene, Iredell County director of Fire Services and Emergency Management, sent a trailer with 40 cots and blankets, generators and fuel for possible power outages to the church.
The Salvation Army, Fifth Street Ministries, and Iredell Christian Ministry provided food, drinks, and snacks. McDonald’s is also providing breakfast to anyone in the shelter on Monday morning.
Jane Hinson, Iredell County Health Department director, also arranged for masks, rapid testing, digital temperature scanners, and sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to be delivered to the church for shelter use.
The EMS Community Response Support Team brought bags filled with community resources, hats, gloves, thermal socks, hand-warmers, snacks, shower wipes and sanitizer, water, and other items to distribute to those who seek shelter.
A community member also stepped up to bring a box of new coats for anyone in need.
Homeless advocates have been visiting homeless encampments and spreading the word about the emergency shelter to get these folks out of the elements. On Saturday, they plan to use vans to transport anyone wishing to use the shelter.
The Fifth Street Ministry shelter (1421 Fifth Street, Statesville) is also again open for referrals after a COVID-19 pause. To assess if applicants are appropriate for their shelter services, please call 704-872-4045 with name of individual being referred. The facility also currently has family rooms available.
LONGER TERM EMERGENCY SHELTER NEEDS
Despite solving this weekend’s crisis, members talked about the consistent need for an emergency shelter in the area after Mooresville Police Department’s Community Resource Coordinator Lori Carlson raised the issue.
“Officers don’t know who to call,” said Carlson, noting that officers paid for motel and food costs out of their pockets in a Christmas weekend emergency shelter need. The nearest emergency shelters are in Rowan and Catawba counties or at the Charlotte Rescue Mission.
SPD Community Resource Coordinator Turkessia Brown-Evans suggested that a coalition member agency approach the Iredell County Adult Collaborative to apply for funding for motel emergency shelter as a short-term solution.
Local homeless advocates are also starting the Foundation of Hope Ministry. They are creating bylaws and getting non-profit status work completed so the group can start serving the community in a more formal manner.
Members of the Homeless Coalition spread extensive Christmas cheer in the area. Coalition Chair Pam Navey celebrated the coalition members “phenomenal work” to help homeless and transitional children and families.
“It was a great success with the community support,” Navey said.
With the generosity of community members’ monetary and Angel Tree donations, the Salvation Army served over 700 children in need with gifts this holiday season. The agency receives need referrals from Iredell-Statesville and Mooresville Graded Schools, the Iredell County Partnership for Young Children, Head Start, and I-CARE as well as from parents with economic struggles.
The Statesville Police Department toy drive, working with The Cove Church, the Salvation Army, STE Powersports, and other private donors, gathered 2,400 gifts to provide Christmas gifts for an additional 300 children in the community.
The Mooresville Police Department took kids Christmas shopping through their Heroes and Helpers Program.
The Statesville Housing Authority served 787 children through its toy program in partnership with Western Avenue and Beulah Baptist Churches and Toys for Tots. The agency also took 235 fruit bags to homes without children.
The Cove Church in Statesville also served 600 children through its toy “store” in which parents could shop to select their children’s gifts.