“Don’t forget: our middle name is Helping.” Guest speaker Grubb, along with Homeless Advocate Dennis Rivers, shared extensive knowledge about their individual programs, the processes in place to help the homeless within our community, and information about how the community can help.
Rowan Democrats December Breakfast – Homelessness in Salisbury/Rowan County – a Community Response
“Don’t forget: our middle name is Helping.” This reminder from Kyna Grubb, Executive
Director of Rowan Helping Ministries, described the tone of the December 10th Rowan
County Democratic Party breakfast. Guest speaker Grubb, along with Homeless Advocate Dennis Rivers, shared extensive knowledge about their individual programs, the processes in place to help the homeless within our community, and information about how the community can help.
A civilian working within the Salisbury Police Department, Rivers learned that Salisbury
is the only city in NC with a designated homeless advocate. He approached local
agencies and explained the need to have resources readily available to help individuals
to reacclimate into the community. Emphasizing that creating change is a community
effort and that “you must meet people where they are,” Rivers explained that much of
his job involves work at homeless tent sites, with individual cases and as a liaison
between businesses and homeless individuals. His personal philosophy is to help take
homeless residents to resources that help “remove them from this type of lifestyle” and
perhaps reconnect them with their families with a follow-up afterwards.
Speaking for Rowan Helping Ministries, Grubb described Rivers as a gift, a liaison who
builds trust within the homeless community and reiterated the importance of meeting
people where they are and then walking with them on their journey to housing. While
Rivers works almost exclusively within Salisbury City limits, Grubb described RHM as
being here for all of Rowan County.
Grubb described the extensive programs RHM now offers: food, day showers and
shelter plus life skills, stress reduction, education, employment opportunities, current
housing programs, and the Miracles on the Horizon Capital Project that will add
transitional and permanent supportive housing and other needed resources within the
next several years. She invited all attending to volunteer at RHM. Both Rivers and
Grubb fielded specific questions from the group.
Preceding the guest speakers, The Demos, musicians Orland Carra and Linda Voelker,
entertained attendees with Christmas songs. Chair Geoffrey Hoy opened the meeting
with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer of thankfulness for values, principles,
democracy, one another, and service to others. Hoy recognized attending elected
officials: two Mayor Pro Tems Shawn Rush and Tamara Sheffield, Mayor Barbara
Mallet and Kannapolis City Council member Jeanne Dixon.
Other Democratic events in December include the annual Christmas Party at RHM,
hosted by RCDP, for homeless citizens in Rowan County. Shawn Rush and Dianne
Sartiano encouraged all present to help celebrate the season with gifts for this
Hoy concluded the meeting with a reminder of the importance of citizen involvement,
not only with local organizations such as RHM, but also through citizen advocacy at the
Rowan County Commissioner meetings for programs and facilities to complement
efforts already in place to improve our community. One important need is a Detox
Center, also described as a Diversion Center. Rowan County now sends any detox
needs to the County Jail or to Concord, Lexington or Charlotte as no such facility exists
to divert offenders from jail and to resources to help them. Attendees were also
encouraged to read and share their comments concerning the City of Salisbury’s
Forward 2040 plan at the City of Salisbury website.