When most of us wake up in the morning, we climb out of bed, hop into the shower and make a cup of coffee. Even on a busy day, most of us take the time to make a quick breakfast as well.
But for a homeless child or family, the day could begin in a shelter, under a bridge or in a car. Many of these people remember days when they had a roof over their head, but due to an eviction or job loss, they are now finding themselves in a situation where they have to live day by day in difficult circumstances.
Homelessness in the Triangle
People often fail to realize how many people in their local community are impacted by homelessness and poverty. Consider these statistics:
- On an average night in Wake County, approximately 1,152 people are homeless. Of those individuals, 181 of them are children.
- More than 73,600 Wake County residents are living in poverty – that’s approximately 8.5 percent of our population.
- The average income for a family of four in the Triangle is $70,000. In the Southeast Raleigh area, the typical household earns just $18,000 on an annual basis.
“My Story, My Song”
Country music star Jimmy Wayne, a North Carolina native, is one person who knows exactly what it is like to be homeless. Jimmy personally experienced life as a poor, homeless youth before finding success as an adult with several country hits, including the three-week No. 1, “Do You Believe Me Now.” With firsthand knowledge of what it is like to grow up without a roof over his head, Jimmy believes that it is the community’s obligation to support children who are homeless and help them make the transition into society.
That’s why Passage Home, a nonprofit agency fighting poverty and homelessness in Wake County, is hosting “My Story, My Song,” on Thursday, June 2 at the Marriott Downtown Raleigh – State Ballroom. From 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., individuals can attend the event to hear Wayne’s story and participate in a silent auction. Costs to attend the event are $60 per person and $100 per couple. For more information, visit http://www.passagehome.org/jimmy.aspx.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Passage Home’s programs, which include workforce development, afterschool programs and camps, transitional housing, and permanent affordable housing.
Even if you cannot attend the upcoming Jimmy Wayne event, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved to help these families get back on their feet. Our goal is to offer a hand up, not a hand out, so that families and individuals can become self-sufficient and one day be able to help others in need. There are so many ways we can do this right now.
Volunteer at an upcoming event or afterschool program. Help a family move. Run errands with a single parent who needs transportation. Train children and adults how to use a computer.
You can also help us advocate for local employers to hire people who have been through our programs so that the graduates do not return to old, negative habits. We are all part of the same community. It is imperative that we do whatever we can to help these individuals and families.
Passage Home fights poverty and homelessness by strengthening families and neighborhoods. They are a nationally recognized nonprofit community development corporation that has been serving Wake County, NC since 1991. They have developed a network of corporations, congregations, and community organizations that are supporting this work. For more information, visit http://www.passagehome.org.