Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement Program

In a vibrant city like Charlotte, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many are suffering amid affluence. Our Civic Engagement Program increases awareness of the complex issues facing more than 100,000 neighbors living in poverty.

Even families whose income is twice the Federal Poverty Level struggle to afford safe housing, reliable transportation, child care, utilities, food, and other necessities. An unexpected event such as an illness or job loss can send an accomplished person into a downward financial spiral.

More than 100,000 of our neighbors live in poverty. 

Empowering Advocates

The Civic Engagement Program engages and empowers the community to be advocates for people facing poverty by:

  • Increasing awareness of the complex issues that make it challenging for some neighbors to make ends meet
  • Encouraging community dialogue and participation in removing barriers to financial security
  • Changing attitudes and policies that create barriers to economic mobility

The most powerful advocates are customers themselves. We provide training to highly motivated individuals interested in sharing their story and effecting positive change for others living in poverty.

Poverty Simulations

Since 2008, Crisis Assistance Ministry has been the local lead facilitator of Poverty Simulations, a facilitated two-hour immersive experience designed to create awareness among participants of life at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. The simulation presents participants with real-life scenarios and challenges faced by people living in poverty and is immediately followed by a group debrief, during which participants reflect on the experience, discuss insights, and consider next steps.

In Her Own Words: Julia’s Story

Last year, Julia shared her story of Thanksgiving after a visit to Crisis Assistance Ministry. Yet, hidden in that one brief moment were so many more moments of loss, resilience, and hope. This fall, Julia shared her journey with Crisis Assistance Ministry volunteers gathered for their annual recognition dinner. Here, in her own words, is her story.

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You Gave William Hope

“You gave me hope when I had none. And when you’re struggling like I am, hope means everything.” That’s how William describes his visit to Crisis Assistance Ministry while trying to get through the devastating impacts of renal disease, job loss, and a neglectful landlord.

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Legal Aid Partnership Addresses Critical Need

Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Homeless Prevention Project volunteers call it a labor of love. Since the project began in 2014, volunteers have faithfully taught more than 3,000 residents during one-hour classes at Crisis Assistance Ministry.

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Biology and Poverty: How Low Income Women Pay the Price

Period poverty. It’s not a topic normally raised during economic equity discussions, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. For half the world’s population, menstruation is a biological reality that brings added expenses and, all too often, unwarranted stigma.

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Monthly Mythbusters: Who Is Affected By Housing & Poverty?

Discussions of poverty and its impact in Charlotte-Mecklenburg often uncover a few myths and misconceptions about who is affected, how they are affected, and how the needs of struggling neighbors are (or are not) met equitably.

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Interfaith Poverty Simulation Spurs Action in Matthews-Mint Hill

In the fall of 2016, with political acrimony and discord rocking the nation, retired pastor Reverend Richard Little looked around the congregation at Morning Star Lutheran Church and thought to himself, “If we can’t get together in the church to talk about our differences, where can we do that?”

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National Voter Registration Day

Last year, millions of Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline. National Voter Registration Day is a day of action before state deadlines begin in October.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating Cultures and Contributions

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! This annual celebration of the cultures and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, runs from September 15 through October 15.

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Monthly Mythbusters: Poverty, Rural vs. Urban Impact, and Banking

Discussions of poverty and its impact in Charlotte-Mecklenburg often uncover a few myths and misconceptions about who is affected, how they are affected, and how the needs of struggling neighbors are (or are not) met equitably. Each month, we’ll compile relevant topics here that show up in social media and community discussions.

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Small Miracles Lead to Big Impact

Kim is a portrait of resilience and persistence. After a medical emergency and a job layoff left her and her children at risk of eviction, she turned to Crisis Assistance Ministry for help. Thanks to community support, she found a way forward and few “small miracles” along the way.

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August 26 is Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Nearly a century later, has that legal right translated to equality for women?

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Partnership Rallies Community to Help Lake Arbor Families

When more than 170 families at Lake Arbor apartments received notice to move out before year’s end, Crisis Assistance Ministry joined a partnership of agencies to help affected residents avoid homelessness. Initial estimates show the community will need an additional $350,000 to assist affected families.

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