Contact: MeckMIN Executive Director Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski; firstname.lastname@example.org; 704-965-9241
MeckMIN (Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network) and Crisis Assistance Ministry have teamed up to address the reality that an estimated 22,000+ households in Mecklenburg County are at risk of homelessness now that the CDC eviction moratorium has ended.
Many of these are the individuals and families hardest-hit by COVID. Many have suffered job loss, reduced income, and medical and/or childcare challenges as a result of the pandemic. Nationwide, more than one in seven renters have not caught up on rent during the pandemic, with renters of color facing the greatest hardship.
The Faith Community Eviction Prevention effort has four aspects:
Encouraging houses of faith to regularly share stories of individuals and families who are being impacted.
Encouraging houses of faith to make donations to the fund.
Encouraging houses of faith to ask their members to make individual donations to the fund.
Encouraging houses of faith to let people in need know about the fund.
MeckMIN is taking the lead role in raising money for the fund. Crisis Assistance is administering the fund and collecting the stories of those being impacted. The funds will go directly to landlords and utilities so as to directly prevent evictions.
Sharing the stories will also keep this in front of people once the eviction crisis is no longer part of the news cycle. We will be sharing stories of the impact of your giving in our biweekly Thursday meetings and newsletter, and we encourage you to pass these along in newsletters, social media, sermons and the like.
MeckMIN Executive Director Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski commented,
“The stories are key because with so many people impacted, it can be easy to lose touch with the real people behind the numbers. Keeping these struggles in front of people, many who live at a distance from such difficulty, is incredibly important, especially as the eviction crisis inevitably falls out of the news cycle.”
Rev. Polaski added, “We know this fund is providing real help to struggling families. Though we cannot help all 22,000, we know that the faith community as a whole CAN make a significant difference.”
MeckMIN Board President Imam John Ederer calls the effort a faithful response to the call of scriptures of all faiths. He mentioned one particularly relevant Islamic scripture: “These are the basic rights for the son of Adam: a house to live in, clothing to wear, some bread to eat, and water to drink.” Sunan al-Tirmidhi 2341.
Asked why private funds are needed to help prevent evictions when the government has provided millions for rent and utility assistance, Carol Hardison, Chief Executive Officer of Crisis Assistance Ministries, replied, “The federal aid has been a lifeline for many families in Mecklenburg County impacted by COVID as they have been able to get assistance with several months’ rent/utilities, both past due and upcoming bills. However, not all families qualify or are able to prove that they qualify for government funding and with multiple places now providing rent and utility assistance, there is added complexity for people to navigate. Whenever someone comes to Crisis Assistance Ministry for help, we ask a series of questions to determine if they might qualify for government aid, and if they do, we educate them on how to apply as we want to ensure they have exhausted those funds first. The Faith Community Fund gives us an additional way to support people who cannot qualify for other funding as the only requirement for these monies is demonstrated need.”
More information and all the stories currently available can be found on the MeckMIN Faith Community Eviction Fund webpage.
For questions about how to get help, how to give help, and why this help is needed, please see the FAQs on the Crisis Assistance website.
Donations can be made by texting Eviction to 91999
Online donations can be made by visiting the Crisis Assistance Website
To donate by check, make your check out to Crisis Assistance Ministry and put “MeckMIN Eviction Prevention Fund” on the memo line and to send it to the attention of Karen Starkey.
Attn: Karen Starkey
500-A Spratt St,
Charlotte, NC 28206
REAL People. REAL Stories.
A 39-year-old man came to Crisis Assistance Ministry a few weeks ago with a late notice from his landlord stating they will file eviction papers if he doesn’t pay his past due rent balance. He has lived in his apartment for over six years and never missed a rent payment. That is until he lost his job in January. Since then, he has been fighting the state’s denial of his unemployment benefits and burning through his savings.
Fortunately, he was recently hired for a full-time work-from-home position and will have plenty of income to support himself going forward. But he doesn’t start the job until later and won’t get paid in time to meet the deadline for paying his rent.
After meeting with a Crisis Assistance Ministry caseworker to discuss the situation, this gentleman was relieved to learn that he will not need to worry about being evicted this month. The agency made a payment to the landlord, clearing his past due balance. The caseworker also provided information about low-cost internet services he may be eligible for since he will need reliable service for his new job.
Later that day, the customer emailed his caseworker to express his gratitude and to let her know that there are additional open positions with his new company. He asked her to please help him pay it forward by sharing the details with anyone out of work.
A young lady and her boyfriend, along with their two-year-old daughter, moved into their new apartment earlier this year. She had lost her job due to the pandemic, but he was working and paying the bills while she stayed home to care for the toddler. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after moving in, an argument turned physical, and her boyfriend moved out.
When the month’s rent came due, she had no way to pay it, and her ex refused to help. Facing the terrifying possibility of becoming homeless with a young child, she turned to Crisis Assistance Ministry. The agency assisted by paying the bulk of her past-due rent, and she was able to cover the balance with the federal child tax credit payment she had just received.
With her housing secure, she can focus on the online insurance certification class she is taking. Once she completes it, she is guaranteed a work-from-home job that will allow her to care for her daughter while financially supporting them both.
During the first week of September, a woman in her mid-fifties applied for help at Crisis Assistance Ministry for the first time in her life. She has a well-paying job and has always supported herself comfortably, but the pandemic wreaked havoc on her family.
Within a few weeks of each other, her sister and brother-in-law died from COVID-19, leaving their teenaged son orphaned in New York. Expenses related to bringing the young man to Charlotte, furnishing a bedroom for him, feeding him, and buying clothing and back-to-school supplies meant there wasn’t enough money to pay September’s rent.
Fortunately, Crisis Assistance Ministry was able to make a rental payment directly to the property owner. Thanks to the generosity of donors in our community, this newly formed family is safely housed as they work through grief and adjust to their new reality.