A coalition of government and nonprofit groups are getting ready to open a new facility to help homeless residents in Wake County.
The concept behind the Oak City Multiservices Center is to offer a comprehensive range of services all under one roof, so clients don't have to seek out a variety of agencies in different locations.
"What the multiservices center does is gives everybody the chance to tell their story one time, and then be directly connected to the services they need to regain housing," said Wake County's Human Services Deputy Director for Operations Annemarie Maiorano.
She estimated there are at least one thousand people experiencing homelessness each night in Wake County, though the total number could be much higher.
The center will offer laundry facilities, job counseling, medical assessments and weekend meal distribution, among other services.
"The whole point is to engage people when they are ready," said Maiorano. "So somebody might start because they need to do their laundry or take a shower. Then you build trust with that engagement, and when people are ready to take that next step toward figuring out what steps they need to take to end their homeless episode, we're ready for that also."
The $8 million project remodeled an empty warehouse on South Wilmington Street in Raleigh.
The center is a collaboration between the City of Raleigh, Wake County, the Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, and Catholic Charities. Local governments contributed to the construction and renovation costs, and the facility will be operated by Catholic Charities under the name Oak City Cares.