Nearly 60 households per month receive financial assistance at CCM’s Crisis Center to keep the family together and in their home. Utility assistance is often the first line of defense to prevent homelessness in Cabarrus County. The level of financial crisis today has generated a 35% increase in the average dollars of assistance provided per household to prevent loss of utilities or eviction. The average dollars per household awarded in CCM’s current fiscal year is running 60% higher than in 2010, near the close of the recession.
When bills get behind with children in the home, the choices get tough. Between groceries, a roof or utilities, a father is going to feed his children. A roof over their heads takes precedence over risking one more month on the utility bill. Losing electricity or water in the midst of the struggle penetrates the heart of a parent and takes everything out of a father. Asking for help is the last resort and the first step toward relief.
Stanley is a single dad of 2 wonderful children. Since his wife passed away 3 years ago, he has relied on long hours at work to put food on the table for his children. When he first learned that work hours were being reduced at his place of employment, his first reaction was to find a part-time job to compensate for the loss. He soon learned that additional time away from his children was not possible for a single dad.
He was able to continue to pay his rent on time and struggled to manage his other monthly bills for a while. He soon fell further and further behind on his power bill until he received a final notice of disconnection in the mail. He lay awake that night worrying about his children, coming home from school without water or power in the home.
He asked himself hard questions, “Will they understand?”, “How do I explain to them what has happened?”, “What will they think of me?” After a long night, he decided that after getting the kids on the bus, he would go and try to seek help. He called his boss that morning and explained what happened. He knew missing one day of work would mean less money at the end of the week but he was desperate to take care of his family.
Stanley approached CCM embarrassed for having to seek assistance. He left feeling better about himself, and felt like he made the right move for his children. Thanks to the support of a caring community, CCM was able to help Stanley so that his family did not have to go without lights or water.
The Neighbors In Need Every day (N.I.N.E.) Campaign goal of $19,999 will close the gap and make a significant impact on the lives of 75-85 households it serves during this challenging season for many.
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