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1 | #cmlibrary Library Services to Homeless Customers David W. Singleton, Director of Libraries

2 | #cmlibrary National Picture -3.7% Decrease in national homeless population from 2012 to 2013 from The State of Homelessness in America 2014

3 | #cmlibrary National Picture. 610,042 Average number of homeless individuals in the U.S. per night from The State of Homelessness in America 2014

4 | #cmlibrary Charlotte Homelessness – Homeless Families up 10% About 2500 people in the community are homeless, not including those living in hotels or doubled up in homes. (Charlotte Observer – December 11, 2013)

5 | #cmlibrary Library Users 5,400 Active library cardholders living in temporary shelters or group homes

6 | #cmlibrary K-12 Students 4,770 Mecklenburg K-12 students homeless at some point throughout school year

7 | #cmlibrary Community Plan 2016 Goal of a citywide 10-year plan to prevent and end homelessness

8 | #cmlibrary Who Are They Really? Reflect Community Diversity Customers Volunteers Families

9 | #cmlibrary Helpful Strategies  Shifting Library Culture  Rethinking Policies  Partnerships/Collaboration  New Approaches

10 | #cmlibrary Shifting Library Culture

11 | #cmlibrary Debunking Myths Myth: Homeless people are uneducated. FACT A great majority of adults entering local homeless shelters have a high school diploma or a G.E.D, and many have some college credit. Myth: All homeless people are mentally ill or drug dependent. FACT Nationally, about 25% of the homeless are mentally ill. About 25-40% are addicted to a substance. Myth: Men are more likely to be homeless. FACT Women and children are the fastest growing homeless populations.

12 | #cmlibrary Debunking Myths Myth: Homeless people are criminals. FACT In general, the homeless are among the most defenseless in our society. Research shows that a homeless person is less likely to commit a violent crime than a housed person. Myth: Homelessness is a choice. FACT Less than 6% of homeless are homeless by choice. Myth: Not many children are homeless. FACT Children make up about 15% of the homeless population. Women and children are the fastest growing homeless populations.

13 | #cmlibrary Shifting Library Culture 2008 – 2009 --- Angela Craig--Library Outreach Department Mobile Computer Classes at Urban Ministry Center Computer skills Basic job searching Poetry and writing classes Library resources classes 2010---Tricia Fisher -- Library Intern/Social Worker Help with Organizing Efforts to Assist Homeless – Produced community assets guide – Assisted with book club for homeless – Facilitated staff training on services to the homeless

14 | #cmlibrary Shifting Library Culture ◦ Staff Discussions ◦ Urban Ministry Center Personnel ◦ Liz Classen-Kelly ◦ Megan Coffey ◦ Project Access Personnel ◦ Ben King ◦ CMLibrary Intern ◦ Tricia Fisher

15 | #cmlibrary Shifting Library Culture ImaginOn helping homeless teens: – Access issues/Project Payoff – Community Involvement Program – Visiting youth shelters – Career development program – Volunteer opportunities

16 | #cmlibrary Rethinking Policies

17 | #cmlibrary Rethinking Policies ◦ Staff assumption that homeless are security concerns ◦ Policies often “one strike and you’re out” ◦ Progressive Discipline Policy helped clarify levels of behavior and consequences

18 | #cmlibrary Partnerships/ Collaborations

19 | #cmlibrary Partnerships/Collaboration Urban Ministry Center Project Access Employment Security Commission

20 | #cmlibrary Urban Ministry Center Basic Services Temporary Shelter Permanent Supportive Housing Substance Abuse Treatment Enrichment Programs Community Education

21 | #cmlibrary Project Access Free/low-cost behavioral and other health care Social worker at Main Library twice weekly Social worker visits discontinued in 2012 due to budget cuts Plans to resume service in Fall 2014

22 | #cmlibrary Employment Security Commission Career Cruiser Equipped with 11 internet computers Training on searching websites for jobs and resume writing. Outreach to UMC and other community stops

23 | #cmlibrary New Approaches

24 | #cmlibrary Job Help An LSTA grant was helpful in strengthening relationships and job help support for the homeless An LSTA grant Over 1300 self-directed job-finding computer sessions over 10 months Over 200 resumes created or revised 71 individuals got jobs

25 | #cmlibrary Job Help Community partner employers – Day labor employers – Companies like Family Dollar Quarterly training of UMC volunteers in use of library resources and training basic digital skills Partnerships with Goodwill (job training programs) and local community college helpful

26 | #cmlibrary Michael

27 | #cmlibrary Steven Asked for help to complete online job applications Staff made him aware of Family Dollar partnership Steven applied, was interviewed, and has served as Assistant Manager of a store for two years

28 | #cmlibrary Turning Pages Book Club Began November 2009 with assistance from Urban Ministry Center Coalition of homeless and housed customers Facilitated by volunteers Supported by staff involvement

29 | #cmlibrary Turning Pages Book Club – Meets weekly (!) – Highly engaged conversations about books and reading – Many titles donated by publishers or authors – Several major authors have spoken with group through personal appearance or web

30 | #cmlibrary Moore Place

31 | #cmlibrary Moore Place Permanent housing for the chronically homeless 85 units Opened 2012 Library partnership for programs, digital skills, and books

32 | #cmlibrary Volunteer Recruitment Trial effort – Fall 2009 Vetted by the Volunteer Coordinator and Library Administration Resume builder for those with few experiences

33 | #cmlibrary Where We Are Engaged in an issue that is important to the community Strong partnership with UMC and other agencies Quarterly training of UMC staff in library resources and how to teach basic digital skills Improved staff awareness of the varied backgrounds and needs of the homeless

34 | #cmlibrary Where We Are Library is at the table for community conversations about homelessness We regularly seek feedback from the homeless related to services and programs at Main Library New approaches continue to emerge as we listen to needs – Day labor positions posted on bulletin board; many of these come to use through the network that we’ve developed – Expungement program in cooperation with volunteer attorneys & local law enforcement very popular

35 | #cmlibrary


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