With Coordinated Care
Oak City Cares is the culmination of several years of collaborative efforts between Wake County, the City of Raleigh, the Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh. In 2014, this group began collaborating to identify a better way to serve our neighbors who were experiencing homelessness. The Oak City Outreach Center was the very successful first step in meeting this goal, sharing nearly 400,000 meals over five years. This great work was accomplished through collaboration with community partners which grew from two dozen partners at the beginning to over 70 partners representing over 20 different faith traditions.
The success of the Oak City Outreach Center led to the development and opening of Oak City Cares on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019. In an effort to most effectively serve as a collaborative space for the whole community, Oak City Cares was established as a 501c3 organization in February 2019. The Center serves as a place where people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, can be connected to an array of services that will help them transition to permanent housing and access economic, medical, mental health and employment assistance.
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. The reasons 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 will also be a blueprint for other North Carolina communities to address these critical issues.Oak City Cares is a hub for connecting individuals and families, who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness, to coordinated services that create a path to stable housing and renewed hope.
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 the nonprofit 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.
Our goal is to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring by quickly and effectively connecting people with the services that will help them secure housing, find employment, and improve their health.
- For those experiencing homelessness, help them find housing quickly; for those at risk, prevent and decrease the likelihood of homelessness.
- For those in pain and in need, create a faster pathway to partner services that have the necessary expertise to assist them.
- For those experiencing food insecurity, provide prepared meals and hospitality on the weekends.
- For service providers, use data to identify gaps and improve services.
- Coordinated assessment and connection to housing assistance and community resources.
- On-site services to help secure medical, mental health, and substance abuse care.
- Weekend meals for people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
- A welcoming and compassionate place with laundry facilities, showers, computers, and phones.