February 7, 2018
You wouldn’t believe what happened at First Presbyterian Church in the wee hours of the morning on February 1.
At 4:30 a.m. on that date, almost 100 volunteers arrived at FPC for the Mecklenburg County annual Point in Time count—an annual snapshot of people experiencing homelessness in our county. This was our fourth year to host the event and it was amazing to see how it has grown.
Point in Time counts happen all over the country in large cities, usually in the middle of winter. It is a one-night, unduplicated estimate of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. Sheltered means that a person was in an emergency shelter or transitional housing at the time of the count. Unsheltered means, sadly, what it sounds like—that a person was on the street or in some other place unfit for human habitation.
Volunteers, bundled up in their warmest gear, gathered in our fellowship hall for a hot breakfast and to pick up the amazing amount of donations collected from individuals and agencies across the city. While out seeking individuals to count, they also handed out sleeping bags, blankets, socks, hand warmers, water and hygiene products.
It makes sense that FPC hosts such an important event, as we are located in the heart of Charlotte and serve the heart of Charlotte. Most volunteers head out our doors and walk to where people sleep on the streets or in outdoor camps. Their work is done by 8 a.m. You would never know they had been here. In that way, their work is not unlike the existence of too many of our neighbors who walk, eat and sleep unnoticed and unaccounted for on our city’s streets.
I am grateful that we are able to use our space and our location in way that embodies Christ’s call to see and to love the most marginalized of our society.
~ The Reverend Erika Funk
Take a look at photos taken in Wood Fellowship Hall during the Point in Time count last week.
You can read the 2017 Point in Time Report while waiting for the 2018 report to be published, usually in early April.
You can learn more about the Point in Time count.