Wake County officials broke ground this morning on a community center for people experiencing, or at imminent risk, of homelessness.
Abbie Szymanski runs the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. She said the new Oak City Cares center will offer a one-stop coordinated intake process to let clients access numerous services. This alleviates the client's burden of traveling from one shelter or agency to another and having to explain their story ad nauseam, Szymansky said.
“It's a really stressful and traumatic thing to have to go through, and so to only have to connect with one person and communicate that experience and what they're going through once... it's just a nicer experience than having to go through numerous centers and places and tell your story over and over again,” Szymanski said.
Nearly four percent of renters face eviction in Raleigh, according to Princeton University's Eviction Lab project. That's above the national average. And the county estimates as many as 5,000 people experience homelessness each year. But no single place exists where they can access all the resources they may need.
Szymanski said the new center will offer bathrooms and showers, as well as a coordinated intake program to help clients access mental and physical health screenings, and register for shelters or housing programs.
“This is our best effort to provide one central location community center,” she said. “We anticipate that Oak City Cares will see around 100 people a day.”
When it opens in February, Oak City Cares will also replace the temporary Oak City Outreach for weekend food distribution.