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Published Sat, Dec 22, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Tue, Feb 12, 2013 11:49 AM

Program aims to empower homeless

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From staff reports

Mission: Hunger and homelessness are the biggest challenges for Catholic Charities throughout the Triangle, said Rick Miller-Haraway, regional director for the group.

The economic downturn has meant more people are asking Catholic Charities for help.

The group provides a week’s worth of groceries to an average of more than 10,000 people each month, Miller-Haraway said.

Five years ago, he said, that number was about 4,600 people a month.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh provides food and shelter to those in need.

Along with providing food, Catholic Charities also operates Support Circles for Homeless Families.

The program helps Wake County families who are staying in homeless shelters find and pay for permanent housing for one year.

Teams of six to eight volunteers form “support circles.”

The volunteers, who are often part of churches, business groups or civic organizations, help families find jobs and obtain medical and dental care.

It’s not just about giving people a place to live, Miller-Haraway said. It’s also about giving them the tools to achieve in the long term.

“This is an empowerment program,” he said.

Many homeless families can’t rely on relatives for help, Miller-Haraway said, and people often get discouraged and lose confidence in themselves.

Support Circles helps give families “hope to kind of keep fighting,” Miller-Haraway said.

Donations needed: Financial donations help pay families’ rent.

Families pay one-third of the rent, and the rest is covered by donations from individuals and businesses, churches and a subsidy from the city of Raleigh.

Until Feb. 15, every dollar donated is matched by a grant.

Volunteers needed: People are needed to mentor homeless families. They provide moral support, budget counseling, tutoring services for children and more.

$10 would buy: Housing for a family for one week.

$20 would buy: Housing for a family for two weeks.

$50 would buy: Housing for a family for five weeks.

Contact information: Rick Miller-Haraway, 919-790-8533 Ext. 23

3000 Highwoods Blvd., Suite 128

Raleigh, N.C. 27604

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About this series

In this season of giving, we are featuring local charities in conjunction with The News & Observer’s Holiday Giving Guide.

The charities submitted information about the need for volunteers and monetary contributions of various amounts.

To see a larger list of charities, visit The News & Observer’s online database at bit.ly/givingguide.

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