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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Circles of Support aids those at risk of homelessness

The United Way of the Cape Fear Area is taking a village approach in one of its homelessness prevention programs, Circles of Support.

The organization is hosting a mentor training at 4 p.m. this Thursday at its Oleander Drive offices.  Amanda Greene of Wilmington Faith and Values reports on the two and a half year old program and how church groups are adopting people at risk for homelessness.

Dwight Price wanted a new start after leaving the Leading Into New Communities or LINC program for formerly incarcerated adults.  So almost a year ago, he joined the United Way’s Circles of Support program.  It’s part of that organization’s 10 year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.  There are 48 volunteers, mostly from local churches, who are mentoring 16 “neighbors” in Circles of Support.

Mentors in the program from Pine Valley Church of Christ spend time each week with Price, advising him on money management, how to pursue his degree in auto mechanics and get his driver’s license.  He also attends church with them and holiday meals at their houses. 

Julia Steffen, director of the program, says neighbors get their confidence back along with life skills that will keep them out of poverty and in a home. 

His mentors – Gayle and Robert “Herky” Hardison and Frannie and Rich Shively – say they’re proud of Price’s self-reliance and successes.  Price says he plans to stay in touch with his mentors long after their year together is up in September. 

Amanda Greene posts for Wilmington Faith and Values.