In 2014, the NC Coalition to End Homelessness estimated that children composed 22%, and their parents another 13%, of the homeless population in NC. In Haywood County, homeless families with children are an ever increasing problem, complicated by the scarcity of permanent, affordable housing. Haywood Pathways Center, in collaboration with churches, school and other non-profit organizations in Haywood County, is committed to helping families to a life transformation and permanent housing; a path that will benefit both parents and children.
Haywood Pathways Center currently works with local churches and other organizations to place families with children in local hotels/ motels in Haywood County. The Open Door, a soup kitchen and crisis ministry in the Waynesville Frog Level district, has been a close partner in this endeavor; meeting with families, identifying their needs, and finding rooms for one or more nights. Funding is shared by Haywood Pathways Center, The Open Door, individual contributions and some local churches in Haywood County.
Our goal is to have a residence(s) for families in crises where they can be housed until they are able to find, or be placed, in permanent housing. In the fall of 2015, Haywood Pathways Center was blessed with an offer of a matching grant that would then be partially used for this purpose. Within 2 months, a total of $ 220,000 (including the matching grant of $ 100,000) was raised; of which 75% has been restricted for the purchase or long term rental of a residence for families. A housing committee has been named, and is responsible for evaluating and obtaining appropriate and safe housing in Haywood County.
Families who request housing must be motivated and committed to change and meet criteria established by the housing committee. Applicants will be required to undergo an interview with a case manager, needs assessment, legal clearance and drug/alcohol testing. We do not accept anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but will refer them to a substance treatment program, and reconsider their application after successful completion of the program. Parents must commit to participation with a case manager to develop a person-centered plan of action based on their specific needs, goals and resources. Progress toward set goals is necessary for continued stay in the family housing residence. Families will be offered permanent housing as it becomes available through private, local, state and/or federal programs.