CAPS pitches homeless program

Published 12:25 am Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk is reaching out for churches and others who can partner with it on its new program to assist homeless people this winter.

The Suffolk Night Stay Program will operate from Jan. 1 to March 26, according to CAPS coordinator Lorna Slaughter.

Twelve churches are needed to provide shelter, meals and security for a week apiece during the 12-week program, Slaughter said. Other churches and individual partners are needed to help provide meals, transportation and financial donations.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

“There are a number of ways a ministry can get involved,” Slaughter said. “Even though CAPS is the host ministry, you do not have to be a member of CAPS to support it.”

The coalition is a group of 17 churches and faith organizations that have joined to help the less fortunate in the community. It recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Slaughter, coordinator of the program’s services, said she has seen the need for services to the homeless.

“Homelessness is very prevalent in our city, but it’s a little more hidden,” she said. “We don’t see it as much throughout the daytime, but at night is when things really change.”

She said she gets at least one phone call a week, if not more, from people seeking shelter.

“I have a lot of inquiries,” she said.

The program is expecting about 20 people per night, based on numbers from a similar program in Smithfield sponsored by Mission of Hope.

So far, Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church and Magnolia United Methodist Church have signed on to provide shelter. Other churches are considering how they can help.

“Even if you can’t host or partner, you can help offset the cost,” Slaughter said. “These monies will definitely help us to offset the cost we believe we’ll incur.”

She said the organization will begin handing out fliers soon to advertise the program to those needing help.

The organization will hold orientation and training on Dec. 7 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St. Leaders also will observe the Smithfield program in action on Dec. 16.

To get involved, call 539-2600 or email caps.lorna@gmail.com.