The Relatives in the News:
WSOC-TV | August 24, 2022
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Channel 9′s deep dive into the crisis of kids and violence in our community is turning from the causes to solutions.
Our Allison Latos took a look inside the efforts on our streets to stop shootings and save lives. Arresting kids and prosecuting them isn’t the only option. There are a lot of people pushing to have a personal impact on our kids, but the need for resources is rising.
Deondre Hill, now 24 years old, recounted his teen years to Latos.
“I carried a gun from here and there,” he said. “I was shot before.”
Hill’s past is peppered with problems — from guns and drugs to run-ins with police. At 15, he skipped school and spent his days at the transit center in uptown Charlotte.
“That was the place where we made our money from selling drugs, maybe doing drugs,” Hill said.
But that was also where Hill first heard of The Relatives, a resource center for kids and youth in crisis.
“I’m evolving into who I’m supposed to be,” he told Latos. “Now I’m in college to be a mechanic.”
His is one of countless stories about kids who turned their lives around.
“I was stealing cars for a long time, doing drugs, trying to figure out who I am,” Amber Graves said. “I was facing five years,” she said.
The Relatives helped Graves turn her life around too.
“When someone can see something inside you that you can’t see yourself…The Relatives enrolled me back in school and drove me to school,” she said. “I am not who I used to be, I’m still growing.”
According to the latest Leading on Opportunity Task Force report, there are 45,000 disconnected youth in Charlotte. Those are the 16- to 24-year-olds who aren’t in school or employed. The number of young people who The Relatives helps find housing, education and employment is rising.
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.
WBTV | March 16, 2022
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.
WCNC | January 27, 2022
Adults are often the face of homelessness, but people forget children and young adults aren’t strangers to the issue.
“I was homeless last year in July,” Dajhun Mack told WCNC Charlotte.
At 21-years-old, Mack found herself without a place to call home, but it wasn’t just her who was homeless.
“I was couch surfing with my daughter, I had a six-month-old at the time,” she said.
WFAE | January 24, 2022
Building Bridges Blog Post | January 20, 2022
Each year, during the final Wednesday of January, Charlotte-Mecklenburg conducts an annual Point-in-Time Count. This action is intended to capture the number of people experiencing “literal homelessness” in the community. “Literal homelessness” is defined as residing overnight in an emergency shelter; safe haven; transitional housing facility; or in an unsheltered location unfit for human habitation.
The 2022 Point-in-Time Count will spotlight the issue of youth homelessness, which is defined as unaccompanied individuals or parenting households between the age of 18 and 25 who are experiencing homelessness. The Youth Advisory Board (YAB), which is supported by The Relatives and comprised of youth with lived experience of homelessness will conduct a youth-led initiative coined “Reach One, Teach One”.
Reach One, Teach One aims to give a voice to youth experiencing homelessness – a population that is often hesitant to share their housing status and experiences homelessness in ways that differ from the traditional perception of sleeping on the street.
This week’s blog shares insight from a representative of the YAB, Dajhun Mack, 22, and ultimately, what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg…
Charlotte Observer | November 21, 2021
It was during his 44 days of incarceration at the Mecklenburg County Jail that Javarrus Jeter heard about Kenny Robinson and Jennifer Vollmer, somewhat known as guardian angels at the local jail.
Vollmer and Robinson run the Black People’s Community Justice Center and Freedom Fighting Missionaries, organizations dedicated to supporting formerly and currently incarcerated people and their families. Incarcerated people call their phones all day, and the lucky ones get through to one of them.
It’s rare they take cases like Jeter’s — his bail was set too high at $60,000, and their funding is small — but something about his case spoke to them, Robinson said, and they got him out.
Back at home, he applied for jobs and went to the Relatives, a local youth support organization, where he received therapy and learned about money management.
PEOPLE Magazine | November 18, 2021
25-year-old Dontae Blair was in and out of foster care growing up and says he wishes adoption had been an option for him and his brothers. His mother never agreed to give up her rights.
“When I was five or six, she regained custody of us and my whole life was like that. We’d go into foster care, then my mom tried to regain custody. We’d go back in and come back out,” he tells PEOPLE. “There was so much instability. I had a conversation with her because I felt like it might have been better to allow us to be adopted.”
Charlotte Observer | September 28, 2021
LendingTree Foundation is looking to transform the corporate giving model with the launch of its signature philanthropy program, the LendaHand Alliance.
Powered by a $3.75 million infusion from the foundation, selected nonprofits each will receive $375,000 — divided as $125,000 over three years — to invest in homeownership, upward mobility, financial wellness, and entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition, cohort members will meet quarterly to foster collaboration and gain access to the foundation’s business expertise and social capital.
Several major organizations are launching a joint effort to combat housing instability and homelessness in Charlotte.
It is described as “a comprehensive community-wide effort” to create a strategic plan around housing instability and homelessness in the community.
The 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy is led by Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer for Bank of America and Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.
Nearly 50 city, county, non-profit and corporate leaders are all part of this comprehensive community undertaking.
MILB.com | March 26, 2021
In March of 2021, Truist Field, home of the Charlotte Knights, officially became a Safe Place partner, becoming the first large-scale sports venue in the United States to hold the title. We hope that more teams will follow our footsteps and help extend the Safe Place network into new territory.
WCCB | March 20, 2021
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CATS officials unveil the winner of the annual Safe Place Week youth art contest with their artwork to be displayed on CATS buses and trains across Charlotte ahead of National Safe Place Week.
Officials say the winning artwork was created by child staying at The Relatives’ Youth Crisis Center, and reflects how the artist feels about the yellow Safe Place sign, which indicates a safe haven for youth in crisis.
National Safe Place Week runs from March 21st through March 27th and recognizes Safe Place agencies for their outreach and prevention programs for youth in crisis.
“As a transit system that views safety as our top priority, we are thrilled to continue this partnership that helps provide an essential connection to help and resources a child in crisis may need,” says John Lewis, CATS CEO.
WBTV Covers National Safe Place Week with The Relatives
QC@3 | March 18, 2021
Dunstan Group | July 9, 2020
It’s no secret the teen and preteen years can be tough years.. and sometimes, youth find themselves wanting to just run away from it all. We also know, that can create a lot of unsafe conditions for children who are vulnerable to crime and trafficking. The Relatives was established in 1974 for this reason – it is a safe place kids can go, while getting trained help to work on issues that can keep them with their families or another safe place.
Trish Hobson joins the BrandBuilders Podcast to tell us more about this important work being done right in the heart of Dilworth, on East Boulevard.
The Relatives receives grant from Bank of America to help support youth and young adults in crisis
May 28, 2020
The Relatives, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids safe and preparing youth and young adults to be healthy, productive, engaged members of the community, has received a grant from Bank of America.
The $25,000 grant will support the mission of The Relatives and their ability to provide services to youth and young people in crisis.
“Our goal for each young person we serve is for them to grasp and embrace their place in the world as a contributing member of society.” says Executive Director, Trish Hobson. “We appreciate Bank of America’s generous award and continued support of the community.”
The grant is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development for individuals and families, in particular during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Relatives is a truly unique organization in our community – no other nonprofit provides the services they do,” said Bank of America Charlotte Market President Charles Bowman. “Without The Relatives, young people in crisis in this city wouldn’t have a place to go. We’re grateful for the critical support they provide.”
WFEA | February 11, 2020
According to recent point-in-time counts in Charlotte, 2017 found 1,476 people experiencing homelessness, 2018 found 1,668, and 2019 had 2,106. The 2020 point-in-time count took place last month and totals are expected to increase.
In a city flush with development, banking and wealth, homeless camps dot the landscape in a stark contrast. What’s causing the surge in homelessness and what is being done to care for homeless youth – the city’s most vulnerable? We discuss the issue with organizations, officials and a young person experiencing homelessness in Charlotte. Listen to our Executive Director, Trish Hobson and a young adult utilizing the On Ramp Resource Center discuss these issues. Read More…
October 7, 2019
We are so excited to be the 2019 recipient of the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders award. This award includes a gift of $200,000 in flexible funding as well as the opportunity for our Executive Director, Trish Hobson, along with an emerging leader to attend a leadership training program. This leadership training program is national in nature and connects other Neighborhood Builder winners from other U.S. markets, resulting in a network of contacts for each participating non-profit.
Our Young Adult Program Manager, Thomas Montaglione shared the success of our Rapid Rehousing program with attendees at the Southern Symposium for Youth Homelessness by Point Source Youth.
By: Lauren Lindstrom | September 26, 2019
A trio of proposals to use Mecklenburg County’s $11 million allocation for rental subsidies would target those most in need of housing, including people who are very low-income, elderly, chronically homeless or experiencing domestic violence.
MeckHOME would house nearly 900 people over four years with short-term rental subsidies and case management, county commissioners learned this week. The program is modeled after A Way Home, which provides two-year rental subsidies to low-income families with an endowment through the Foundation for the Carolinas, though it would also serve single men and women.
The $6.3 million request would team up the Salvation Army, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte/Urban Ministry Center, and youth-focused nonprofit The Relatives to house single residents, families, and young adults with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. Read More…
By: Thomas Montaglione, The Relatives | September 25, 2019
Each year, thousands of young adults filter through the criminal justice system in Charlotte, N.C. While a lot of attention is given to finding solutions for decreasing the number of young adults in the system, equal attention must be paid to meeting their needs post-incarceration.
Upon their release, young adults often encounter barriers that limit their access to stable housing, employment, and education. These barriers often result in housing instability, putting young adults at a higher risk for becoming repeat offenders. Read More…
By: Sarah Delia, WFAE | September 23, 2019
Finding housing can be tough even when you have a reliable job and a good credit score. It can be an even bigger challenge for a portion of the population that lacks rental and credit histories and stable income – young adults. Add the rising cost of rent to that list, and the deck can be stacked high against 18- to 24-year-old’s trying to find a safe and secure place to live.
That’s where The Relatives comes in. The Charlotte nonprofit specifically works with young adults struggling to obtain sustainable housing. Step inside Zhane Roberts’ apartment in east Charlotte and she’s beaming with pride. One of the first things the 19-year-old did when she moved in was paint the walls a soft gray. She describes the decorating aesthetics of her one-bedroom apartment as warm, clean and homey. Read More…
By: WSOCTV, Channel 9 | May 17, 2019
A new bill in the North Carolina General Assembly would provide assistance to foster care children who age out of the system without any family support.
The bill would allow foster children to apply for federal housing assistance when they turn 16. It would then give them three choices for where they want to live six months before they turn 18 and age out of the system. Read More…
By: Gatesy Hill, Junior League of Charlotte
There is a familiar Nigerian proverb that suggests, “It take a village to raise a child.”
For some children in our city, their immediate surroundings can unravel, leaving them without a center. This is where Junior League of Charlotte, Inc. (JLC) past President and sustaining member Trish Hobson and her incredible team at Charlotte’s non-profit, The Relatives, step in.
Trish, who serves as the Executive Director for The Relatives, actively lives out the truth of this age-old saying daily. “Most of [these children]don’t have the resources to become independent [adults],” says Trish, “they have either aged out of foster care or have been pushed out of their homes, so we help get them on their way to independent [living].” Read More…
By: Trish Hobson, Special to the Charlotte Observer | March 15, 2019
As we prepare to celebrate National Safe Place Week, I want to express my disappointment in the Kevin Siers cartoon published March 6 in the Observer. Unfortunately, the cartoon associated the Safe Place logo with the polarized discussion of immigration. As the Executive Director of The Relatives, which provides oversight to over 650 Safe Place locations, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind readers that the Safe Place logo is a symbol of hope and safety for youth who are in crisis. Read More…
By: John Wilson | March 13, 2019
Again this year, as part of National Safe Place Week, The Relatives’ Youth Crisis Center will be celebrating with Robert’s Walk and Community Celebration. This year’s celebration will be special as it marks 45 years of The Relatives helping the youth in the Charlotte area. Wilson at The Relatives center this morning talking about their 45 years of service to the community. Read more and watch video…
By: Tammy Joyner | January 31, 2019
Charlotte/Mecklenburg County has the highest number of homeless people in the state, according to 2017 data from the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness. One national public policy expert called The Relatives “a community leader” in the innovative way it is addressing youth and young adult homelessness.
“They’re a fantastic community service provider to young people and families,” said Eric Masten, public policy director at National Network for Youth in Washington, D.C. “Some of the solutions like Rapid Re-Housing don’t necessarily meet the needs of young people or families. So we see communities and programs like The Relatives utilizing the resources they can access … to make sure the young people and families are using national and community resources to make sure they have the full constellation of housing and services to help them transition successfully.” Read More…
By: Courtney Mihocik, Creative Loafing Charlotte | September 19, 2018
Jason Indenbaum, a case manager at On Ramp Resource Center, couldn’t wait to share his excitement about the recent success story of a client. After being stranded in Charlotte with no home or support system, the client was at The Relatives, a network of resources in Charlotte designed to connect homeless or unstably housed youth and young adults.
He was on Indenbaum’s caseload for less than a year, working to get on his feet for about six months before securing a job with Job Corps and moving to Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, Indenbaum said the client has completed his certification in phlebology and signed on with the military in a medical branch. He recently sent Indenbaum a picture of his newly signed contract. Read More…