Reducing Homelessness

If it takes a village to raise a child, why should we expect less than a community effort to restore someone struggling with homelessness to self-sufficiency? For many clients at Greensboro Urban Ministry, such as Mark
Lewis, the journey to self-sufficiency is supported by multiple programs, agencies, and community volunteers.

A successful food and beverage manager, Mark found himself homeless in 2008 after struggling with a bout of depression brought on by the loss of a parent. Though his family never had much growing up, Mark was unaware of the social service programs available in Greensboro and was particularly unaware of Greensboro Urban Ministry until he was referred by an acquaintance to Weaver House Night Shelter. At Weaver House, Mark quickly learned that not only were there programs available, but there were people who wanted to help. Shelter staff provided Mark with information on area programs and he quickly applied and was accepted to Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Partnership Village transitional housing program.

According to Mark, “Partnership Village offers a hand up, not a hand-out, for those who want to apply themselves… by offering stability and structure, the program puts you on the path to putting your life back together.” And, that’s just what Mark did. With the support of Wilson Davis, a Stephen Minister with Greensboro Urban Ministry and a volunteer with the Wednesday support group, Mark found employment and began saving his money. When Mark was ready to leave the Partnership Village Program, GUM’s Beyond GUM program provided assistance with security deposits, enabling him to move into market rate housing. And, thanks to a partnership with Wheels 4 Hope, Mark has a new car as well. Today, Mark says that his “opportunities are wide open” thanks to the support of the community and the programs and collaborations provided through Greensboro Urban Ministry.