Making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Wake County.
Nearly 5,500 people in Wake County experienced homelessness last year, and that number increased by 25% over the prior year, even as it declined in North Carolina overall. On any given night in Wake county, approximately 1,000 people are homeless. In the 2016-2017 school year, nearly 3,500 students in Wake County Schools were identified as homeless.
The reasons for homelessness are complex: the fast-growing Wake County population (66 people per day), a lack of affordable housing, and barriers to accessing services. Individuals and families remain in homelessness much too long while trying to navigate the multitude of services, going from agency to agency and often not knowing which services will best meet all of their needs. When people remain homeless for long periods, they become isolated and lose hope due to the lack of social supports that are necessary for anyone to overcome homelessness.
Oak City Cares is a comprehensive, coordinated approach to making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Wake County. Key services will address housing, employment, health, and hunger for the most vulnerable of our Wake County neighbors who struggle to navigate the multitude of services available. This new model brings services together, in a convenient downtown Raleigh location, to create a path for individuals and families to stable housing and renewed hope.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh created Oak City Cares to coordinate multiple services from Wake County nonprofits and Wake County Human Services in one central hub, ensuring people get onsite help and serving as a bridge to the ongoing resources they need. Oak City Cares will also bring together volunteers from faith communities, humanitarian organizations, and the business community to provide hospitality and support. Each person who comes through the door will receive compassionate care and professional assistance finding what they need all under one roof.
Oak City Cares staff will coordinate services offered by human service professionals, medical providers, and other specialists from multiple partners at the downtown center, thus improving the stability and self-sufficiency of individuals and families served. Volunteers will play important roles by helping people feel a sense of connection to a community, helping to renew hope.
Oak City Cares builds upon the model of compassionate care and connection demonstrated at the Oak City Outreach Center near Moore Square. Since 2014, the Oak City Outreach Center has served 1,200-1,800 meals each weekend in a collaboration among the City, the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, private funders, and the generosity of more than 70 volunteer organizations and faith communities. Oak City Cares replaces the outreach center in a facility that is six times larger, allowing for an expanded scope of services and increased volunteer opportunities. Wake County, the City of Raleigh, the Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, and Catholic Charities are partnering with community agencies to provide this new solution Oak City Cares.