What I’ve Learned About Homeless Shelters in Wake County

There is a real shortage of beds at all the homeless shelters right now. Most shelters have long waiting lists in Wake County.

There are also certain groups that the shelters can’t currently help. For example:

Mike at the Raleigh Rescue Mission says there is no shelter that currently accepts single men with children.

  • I wonder what this group does when they find no shelter? If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.
  • How many men with kids need access to a shelter in Wake County?

Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network is a day shelter that sends families to local area churches to sleep at night. Their 12 week program seems to be the only one that doesn’t split up families based on gender. Most other shelters are men only or for women and children. But Wake Interfaith can’t accept families with children over 18 and they recently couldn’t help a single mother with an older disabled son.

Though all the agencies and shelters in the area try their best to refer families elsewhere when they can’t help them, I couldn’t figure out if there is a central authority that is responsible for making certain homeless citizens don’t fall through the cracks? Recently, the Women’s Center and Pan Lutheran Ministries (both help women and children) started coordinating their intake efforts and this should help make things better for women.

From what I can tell, each agency or nonprofit barely has the resources to focus on its own mission and core services. Some agencies have closed down due to funding cuts.
Due to a lack of good public transportation, it’s impossible to get to the resources that are still available.

A complete list of shelters in Wake County is at: http://www.wakegov.com/humanservices/housing/homeless/default.htm

Of course, the shelters have lost some of their government funding and donations have also dropped during the recession, so if you can donate money, I’m sure they would appreciate it.

I’m still trying to connect with the Raleigh Rescue Mission and the South Wilmington Men’s Shelter.  I’ve been told that the Men’s Shelter works on a lottery system because there aren’t enough beds available each night.

There are changes in regulation coming.  From what I’ve been told, the government is trying to limit the stay at shelters so there is a sense of urgency to find permanent housing for those who are homeless.

I still have a lot to learn about this, but I’ve made a start.  I welcome your insights, especially if you help manage a homeless shelter, or have stayed in one.


Spoke with Frank Lawrence at the South Wilmington Street Homeless Shelter for Single Men…  Wrote a detailed blog post of our conversation. 


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