Funding will increase the organization’s capacity by 280% and address a critical need for low barrier housing.
Asheville, N.C. – Pat Chamberlain, Founder and Executive Director of Out of the Ashes, shared that the people seeking help from his organization often have nowhere else to go, having exhausted all traditional sources of assistance. And as the only dedicated homeless shelter in Rutherford and Polk Counties, they are always at capacity. Now, thanks to a $1,181,000 grant from Dogwood Health Trust, they have purchased a new property that will add nearly 50 beds and address critical – and previously unmet – needs.
“Dogwood’s grant will increase our capacity by 280% as we expand from a total of 25 beds to 70 beds,” Chamberlain said. “We are so grateful for this new partnership with Dogwood and their investment in supportive housing that is critically needed here.”
Dogwood’s grant funded the purchase of a recently renovated 14,300 sq. ft. church that sits on 7.4 acres just outside of Forest City. An additional four acres of buildable land with water and sewer will allow for future expansion. The new facility will include low-barrier, dry shelter and transitional housing. The grant will also fund two shuttle buses to transport residents to engagements that are part of their wellness journey, allow for centralized supportive programs to improve efficiency and access, and provide onsite childcare that will allow mothers to work and take a vital step towards self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Low-barrier shelter does not currently exist in Rutherford or Polk and is for individuals who may not be ready to commit to a recovery program but need a safe place to stay.
“Having this low barrier component, focusing on assessment and triage, and intentionally linking to more permanent housing resources will help people move to permanent housing more quickly,” said Chamberlain.
“Dogwood Health Trust has placed a significant priority on investing in supportive housing that can put people on a steady and successful path to permanent housing,” said Sarah Grymes, Dogwood’s Vice President of Impact Investing for Housing. “With this investment, Dogwood is not only addressing the critical need for this type of supportive and transitional housing in Rutherford County, but is also strengthening Out of the Ashes’ ability to serve individuals who are struggling with homelessness.”
More than one out of every two residents (54.8%) in Rutherford Cunty indicated that their life has been negatively affected by substance abuse. That is almost 10% higher in comparison to the overall rate of 47.4% in WNC. Additionally, more than 1 in 4 (26.7%) Rutherford County adults self-reported that they have used opioids in the past year, with or without a prescription, as compared to 19.6% overall in WNC.
Out of the Ashes offers a solution to homelessness and addiction that goes beyond just meeting basic needs. Its program is designed to provide holistic restoration for homeless and addicted men and women so they can become contributing members of society and maintain permanent housing.
“Rutherford County has no transitional housing for men and only one 8-bed facility for women in recovery,” said Jaqueline L. Godlock, a board member of Dogwood Health Trust and a business relations representative for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that covers a four-county area including Rutherford and Polk Counties. “Dogwood’s funding for this project meets a great need in Rutherford and Polk Counties by providing a low barrier shelter option but also a dry shelter option and transitional housing paired with services to create a clear path to sobriety and self-sufficiency for our neighbors who are struggling with homelessness.”
A celebration for the organization will take place on Saturday, June 26th beginning at 5:00 p.m. At the event, Out of the Ashes will recognize Dogwood’s investment.
About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust was created from the net proceeds of the sale of Mission Hospital System and focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity, and access to care and health resources. Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.
About Out of the Ashes
Founded in 2017, Out of the Ashes is a transitional living facility and substance abuse recovery program that serves Rutherford and Polk Counties. Its two co-founders, both of whom are North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialists, have personal experience with homelessness and substance abuse issues and are passionate about helping others in their community who are affected and in need. The organization began as a personal effort to provide shelter for neighbors experiencing homelessness and, through partnerships with other community organizations, has grown into a registered non-profit organization that provides shelter, food, transportation, laundry, drug and alcohol testing, resume writing assistance, budgeting assistance, volunteer opportunities, Bible Study and fellowship, independent living skills development, assistance procuring proper identification, support groups, and cultural programs for its residents. Out of the Ashes also provides referrals to mental health providers, local educational institutions, local Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous programs, Life Recovery, Mobile Crisis for detox, and more. To learn more, visit outtheashes.org.