The Relatives in the News:
WCCB | June 13, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —The Relatives is a hub of resources that helps children and youth find shelter and support. Their Youth Crisis Center, On Ramp Resource Center, and Housing programs keep kids safe and families together. They stopped by Rising to talk about how they help young adults and LGBTQ+ teens in the community find housing and more.
The Relatives serves as the Safe Place agency for Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area, partnering with local businesses to ensure young people in need have access to immediate help and supportive resources. The goal of each program The Relatives offers is to keep kids safe and families together. We believe every child deserves a safe place to sleep and a fighting chance to make it.
Foster kids in Mecklenburg County have been forced to sleep in offices and hotels as social workers scramble to find sufficient housing
WCNC | May 04, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —The Relatives is an emergency housing service in Mecklenburg County for kids and young adults ages 7 to 24. The group partners with the Division of Social Services, or DSS, on a regular basis. The organization’s executive director says the housing situation for foster kids is dire.
“It’s really dire. There are not enough places for kids,” Trish Hobson said. “We have had meetings with DSS leadership. They’re very concerned because there are kids actually staying in their offices because they don’t have the placement for them and I think kids are staying in hotels, as well. They told us there were kids sleeping in the conference room and that they were having to partner with other organizations for things like showers and meals, and these kids are going to school so they have to do homework.” Hobson says The Relatives helps whenever possible, but their beds have been fuller than ever before since the COVID-19 pandemic.
WCNC | February 06, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Leading on Opportunity identified 45,000 disconnected young adults in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. That means they don’t have a home, are unemployed, or are not in school.
Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that many young adults in these situations have been in jail before. For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app. It’s why a local nonprofit, The Relatives, is seeking solutions to prevent more teens from becoming homeless.
The organization was founded in 1974 and chose the name ‘The Relatives’ because young adults didn’t want to admit they were going to a crisis shelter. Instead, they would tell friends or family that they were staying with ‘a relative.’
The On Ramp Resource Center expanded into its permanent space on Freedom Drive to help 16-to 24-year-old adults in crisis and help them become healthy and productive members of the community.
Caitlin Donley, Director of Philanthropy for The Relatives, said they welcome young adults in crisis and understand to “meet them where they are.”
“A lot of our clients have experienced severe trauma in their lifetime before they’re getting to us,” Donley told WCNC Charlotte. “So we recognize there’s a mental health component that plays into everything that’s going on. So we have to address all of those client needs at the same time.”
Amber Graves first came to The Relatives as a teenager and is now the chairman of the Youth Action Board. “If it wasn’t for The Relatives help, right now, I cannot honestly say I would know where I’d be, because I’m not there. But I know from the route I was going, it probably would end up not good,” said Graves. Clients’ services can be one-on-one case management or helping to cover basic needs, like a shower, hot meal and laundry. There is also a focus on education workshops. Young adults are nearly 350% more at risk of becoming homeless if they don’t have at least a GED. The staff at The Relatives say the programs are working.
WBTV | December 09, 2022
A reminder of Charlotte’s have-nots. Numbers are doubling up for teens who need help and are unhoused.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are getting creative around the holidays for students facing homelessness.
“Addressing the systemic issues and the risk factors are key.” -Trish Hobson
Spectrum News | August 18, 2022
The Relatives moved their On Ramp Resources Center into a new space on Freedom Drive that organization leaders say is three times the size of their old space in Uptown.
Their new building has a kitchen, which is something their old building didn’t have.
With this new feature, they’re partnering with the Community Culinary School of Charlotte (CCSC) to provide culinary classes.
“The Relatives have been around for 40 plus years,” said Chef Ron Alhert, the executive director of CCSC. “They know what they are doing. The Community Culinary School of Charlotte has been around for 25 plus years. We know what we are doing. We can help those that seek help in the culinary hospitality industry and we are going to use this wonderful room right here.”
They also have a shower, which is something their last building didn’t have, either.
The director of programs for The Relatives, Thomas Montaglione, says this will also make a big impact.
“This was one of the main needs for our young adults coming in, is they needed a place where they could not only wash their clothes, but also shower and feel dignified for an interview – or going out into the community or just needed a fresh place to freshen up for the day,” he said. “We have a population that needs support and needs to have these basic needs met. And this space really does provide that.”
Resource Center Coordinator Lauren Perino echoes that.
“Our goal is to meet all of our young adults where they are at from the base necessities hygiene, food, all the way up to driver’s license, social security card, achieving their education and employment, being able to maintain that and long-term goal, independence and stable living,” Perino said.
Spectrum News | June 17, 2022
“We sort of act as their family, as their relatives so to speak to help them get the job, get the education so they can become independent,” The Relatives Executive Director Trish Hobson said.
Since October 1, 24% of the young adults they have served in this age group identify as LGBTQ. Imoney Cooper is one of them.
Cooper works full-time in retail. However, the 22-year-old and her girlfriend are homeless at the moment. The couple sleeps outside the house of one of Cooper’s family members.
“No situation that I’m in tears me down. I always keep the light in my eyes and keep going forward,” Cooper said.
She turned to the organization for help finding a place to live.
“This is a place that was helping out my aunt and her and her baby, in her situation. I felt this place would actually give me a chance to be where I want to be in my life,” Cooper said.
As part of the housing program, the organization helps young adults find rental properties. It takes a look at the income and expenses of participants and develops a budget. In addition, the nonprofit fronts housing-related expenses, including security deposits, utilities or rent participants can’t afford at the time. On average, the group provides subsidies to young adults for up to a year.
Thousands of dollars from the American Rescue Plan are slated to be allocated to some Mecklenburg County organizations on the ground assisting those impacted by COVID-19. It’s the first round of funds and it’s money the organizations desperately need. They’re helping with everything from mental health and childcare to infrastructure and affordable housing and homelessness.
Leaders at two organizations focused on helping those find shelter said the money cannot come at a more important time. Staff at The Relatives, which assists with youth homelessness, and Roof Above say the pandemic and the affordable housing crisis in the city have made it hard to accommodate the influx of people looking for a lifeline. They said the money couldn’t come at a more pertinent time.
Spectrum News | February 2, 2022
Sean Scurlock, a housing case manager for The Relatives organization, said it did not surprise him.
“I come from working in Myrtle Beach and Asheville in the past. So, Myrtle Beach is much more lax, and Asheville has a very tight housing market as well. But because of the metro area that Charlotte’s in, and just the amount of people moving here on a daily basis, I really haven’t seen anything like it,” Scurlock said.
Scurlock, who has 10 years of experience connecting people in need to transitional and emergency housing, said the COVID-19 pandemic only made things worse.
“We have seen a decrease in the inventory of housing and the rental market available, we have seen an increase in the people who need it, and we have also seen an increase in the amount of people who are competing for an individual unit when it is available,” Scurlock said.
The Relatives, which works to help young people be, “Healthy, productive, engaged members of the community,” said its On Ramp Resource Center was currently helping 38 young adults and 19 of their children with housing.