Rowan Helping Ministries volunteers work on homes

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2012

By Katie Scarvey
Big things are happening at Rowan Helping Ministries. A new shelter will break ground soon, and RHM will also be adding some permanent supportive housing. To that end, they’ve bought some properties on Council Street.
“Ultimately we will be refurbishing three houses and land to build future permanent supportive housing,” said RHM executive director Kyna Foster.
Currently, the Eagle’s Nest program provides transitional housing, but it can’t really accommodate families that have several children.
The recently acquired homes, when refurbished, will be able to meet the needs of families.
The first cleanup day, which drew 15 volunteers, was held March 31 for the property at 412 Council Street.
And last Saturday, about 20 volunteers met at the corner of Long and Council Streets to work on another property, taking down the fence and removing some dead trees.
Among those volunteering were J.R. Dunkley, chair of RHM’s facilities committee; Steve Drinkard, chair of RHM; Chris Bradshaw, chair of shelter ministries; David Holston, Dickey Menius, Travis Alligood, Tommy Sedmon, Lindsay Lowman and David Lingard. The Cross Pointe Baptist youth group from Concord and some shelter guests also participated.
Response from the volunteers was so good that the scheduled half-day workday was over by 10:30 a.m. because the dumpster was full, Foster said.
Foster notes that using volunteers to do as much of the landscaping and renovation of the homes as possible will keep costs down.
Although in the long run the homes will be used for transitional and permanent supportive housing, Foster says that shelter needs have been so great that as soon as renovations are complete they will probably use at least one of the Council Street houses for shelter overflow until the new shelter — which will break ground Sept. 19 — is ready for guests about 18 months from now.
“Monday we had 75 people overnight,” Foster said. The current facility was designed for 40 people.
The new 30,000 square foot shelter will be able to provide housing for 60 men, 40 women and up to four families. It will also feature a soup kitchen and educational and day space for shelter guests. The existing building will be remodeled for use as a center for crisis assistance, offering a food pantry and clothing center.
Shelter guests at Rowan Helping Ministries are now sleeping in the lobby and the crisis assistance interview rooms, Foster said.
“We set up sleep space and take it down every morning.”
Foster hopes that by wintertime they will be able to use one of the Council Street homes for shelter overflow.
Rowan Helping Ministries is still looking for volunteers who want to help with cleanup and renovations, including those with special skills like electricians and plumbers.
The renovations are being led by the facilities committee, which is headed up by J.R. Dunkley.
RHM will schedule another work day soon, Foster says.
Any groups or individuals who are interested in helping out with a workday can call 704-637-6838 and ask for David Holston, director of shelter services, at extension 109, or Cam Campbell, director of community resource development and community relations, at extension 103.