The Relatives’ Family Update – May-June 2018
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Last year we housed 31 young adults who were facing homelessness. This year we have already housed over 20.
The Affordable Housing Crisis and Early Childhood Education
Charlotte-Mecklenburg is an opportunity-rich community that continues to attract new residents daily – but that is only one part of our story. According to a 2015 Harvard and UC Berkeley study, Charlotte is ranked 50th for economic mobility out of the 50 largest US cities. That statistic translates to when a child is born into poverty in Charlotte, that child has a worse chance of escaping that poverty here than in any other sizable city in America. As Catherine Lopez-Ibanez, a mentor at The Relatives, emphasizes, “It’s heartbreaking and disappointing that our children are sleeping on the street and starving in such an affluent city. Our city needs to come together and solve this crisis.”
The Leading on Opportunity Task Force Report identified three determinants that impact inter-generational poverty: early childhood education, college and career readiness, and family and child stability. The cross-cutting factors of segregation and social capital also contribute to the problem. These issues are inextricably linked. Each connects to and reinforces the other.
The Relatives is working to make an impact on all of these areas through our crisis shelter, resource center and housing program. “In spite of the many resources we have in Charlotte, many of our young adults are falling through the cracks. The programs we offer are designed to stop that,” said Trish Hobson, The Relatives’ Executive Director.
“When we address issues systemically, the community is stronger,” added Hobson. “We have the chance today to ensure that affordable housing and quality early childhood education are accessible for all of our children. With the help of community partners, like the Joey Logano Foundation and The Duke Endowment, we are making big strides in helping young adults age 18-24 become a priority when it comes to finding affordable housing. However, many times barriers arise that make it harder for these young adults.”
Childcare has recently become a significant barrier for many of the young adults served by The Relatives. Without family support or the ability to afford childcare, many times these young parents can’t maintain employment and end up missing rent and bill payments. Within our housing program, approximately 40% are single parents, many of whom find it difficult to maintain work because they lack proper childcare.
“To overcome this barrier, we approached the Joey Logano Foundation about helping us provide a short-term childcare subsidy for those in our housing program,” explains Hobson. “The Joey Logano Foundation is one of those amazing partners that is flexible and understanding. As we uncover new barriers or needs, they are always willing to modify their support to ensure more of our clients reach independent stability.”
Children exposed to unstable housing and under-resourced neighborhoods can experience toxic stress. Research shows the highest rates of housing instability occurs among families with children birth to age five. Toxic stress among children is known to disrupt brain development, which can impact their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, all areas crucially important for school readiness and success. By helping our young adult parents overcome stability barriers, we are ultimately helping reduce toxic stress in their young children.
As Charlotte works on the affordable housing crisis and upward mobility issues, The Relatives will continue to support the youth we serve, ages 7-24, so they will have the resources they need to be safe, stable and independent.
If you are interested in these topics please see these other resources:
As rents rise, Charlotte’s mayor seeks to more than triple the affordable housing fund: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/ news/local/article208554664.html
Mapping Mecklenburg Evictions Reveals Neighborhood Trends: https://carolinapublicpress.org/27725/mapping-mecklenburg-evictions-reveals-neighborhood-trends/
CMPD Steele Creek’s “Reading with Cops” program going on road with mobile library: http://www.fox46charlotte.com/ news/local-news/cmpd-steele-creeks-reading-with-cops- program-going-on-the-road-with-mobile-library
Why cracking the book early helps crack the opportunty code in life: http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/News/Pages/ Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Schools-Will-Collaborate-with-Harvard-Graduate-School-of-Education-and-MITs-Integrated-Learning-Init.aspx
Your vital support of The Relatives makes it possible for us to be a family to over 5,000 young people in our community who find themselves in crisis each year. You provide essential programming to help create safety for kids in crisis, prevent and end homelessness, and help the youth in our community reach independence.
Please take the time to look through our most recent annual report. You will read significant statistics, see your impact, and hear inspiring success stories.
We sincerely thank all of our donors, volunteers and community supporters for “Being a Relative” to youth in crisis.
Everything is Relative
School is almost out and that means the kids at our Crisis Center need places to go and activities to experience while they stay with us all day long during the summer. Kids who are homeless, runaways, or in other difficult situations appreciate opportunities for fun, learning, and friendship to take their minds off their circumstances.
However, our budget is limited. By raising $5,000 we can provide more to the youth and young adults we serve. For example, this summer our kids can go rollerskating, the zoo and maybe to other places they have never been like the beach. If you would like to help, please click the donate button below. And thank you so much for making a child’s day brighter!
Please pardon our dust as our Crisis Center undergoes major roof repairs. The original tile roof on the home is being replaced because of major leaks within the home.
If you are volunteering at the Crisis Center or live in the neighborhood, we thank you for your patience during this time.
Needed In-kind Items
Towels and Wash clothes – for new shower program with local church
Baby diapers of any size, wipes and formula for our young parents
Bus passes for our young adults to make employment and health appointments