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 the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), a two-hour interactive, 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.

Kim’s Current Situation

The last time Kim shared her story, she was in the midst of putting her life back together after a medical emergency and a job lay-off sent her family into a tailspin. We checked in with her for an update in the midst of our community’s current crisis.

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What To Do If You’re Out Of Work Or Have Lost Income

COVID-19 has already changed the economic landscape for many of us. If you’ve been laid off or lost income due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, it’s a scary time. Here are some helpful resources if you’re one of the more than 100,000 people in North Carolina in this situation right now.

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Funds Available To Help Families Behind on Utility Bills

Right now, many families are struggling to make choices between rent, groceries, and utility bills. Crisis Assistance Ministry can help. Special funding is currently available to prevent a disconnection of electricity or gas utilities for low income Mecklenburg County families.

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Black History Month Focuses on Right to Vote

As February ushers in this year’s national Primary season, it’s important to remember the sacrifices and historic milestones that brought each of us (at different times, through differing means) the right to vote. One way to celebrate history is to educate yourself on the issues and the candidates – from the most local offices to the White House – and make a plan for when and how you will vote.

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Poverty Simulation Prepares Nursing Students for Community Practice

For aspiring nurses, an understanding of what life is like for people in underserved communities is a critical part of their education. At UNC Charlotte, students have a chance to experience what their patients may face on a day-to-day basis through Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Poverty Simulation.

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Free Tax Preparation

Starting at the end of January, local taxpayers can get their tax returns prepared for free with Community Link as part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Any household earning less than $56,000 qualifies for the service.

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Make It Count in 2020

It’s a new year and a new decade. That means it’s time for the decennial census which, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, has occurred every ten years since 1790. The census is an important part of our democracy, helping to determine the allocation of community resources.

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North Carolina Ranks 37th on Prosperty

Weathering a financial storm is essential for all families to build towards a stronger future. New data about the financial health of our state highlights where disparities exist that prevent individuals and families from reaching economic freedom in five areas: financial assets and income, businesses and jobs, homeownership and housing, health care and education.

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Dr. King’s Other Dream

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year, we examine his “other dream” through his writings on the elimination of poverty among all Americans.

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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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Help, Hope & Understanding

for people struggling with limited financial resources

Mission & Vision

The  mission  of Crisis Assistance Ministry is to  provide assistance  and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.
Our  vision  is to inspire our community to justice and generosity as we provide help, hope, and understanding to people struggling with limited financial resources.
Our  vision  is to inspire our community to justice and generosity as we provide help, hope, and understanding to people struggling with limited financial resources.

We All Depend Upon Each Other

Due to health and financial issues, Tangejula was already at risk when the coronavirus appeared. Thanks to help from people like you she has something to be grateful for right now.

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Kim’s Current Situation

The last time Kim shared her story, she was in the midst of putting her life back together after a medical emergency and a job lay-off sent her family into a tailspin. We checked in with her for an update in the midst of our community’s current crisis.

Read More

Restoring Dignity for Myron

After years of forgoing hot water and heat as he struggled to make ends meet, Myron finally sought help to restore his utilities as he fights kidney disease. You restored more than just his utilities that day.

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Worried Grandma Finds Perfect Fit

A grandmother’s love is a fierce combination of worry and tenacity. Thanks to you and Steve’s Coats for Kids, Betty has two less worries after a devastating stroke put her family into financial crisis.

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Restoring Home For Lakisha And Her Family

Working mother Lakisha is grateful to the community partnerships and volunteer labor who helped restore and furnish her family home after a devastating roof collapse.

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A Little Bit of Help, Hope, and Home

When little Myla wasn’t even a year old, she learned about the warmth of community — thanks to life-changing assistance just when it was needed most.

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Our Programs

Basic Needs

Mecklenburg County families receive help with life’s basic needs: emergency rent and utility assistance, clothing, household goods, furniture, beds, and appliances.

Economic Mobility

The Economic Mobility Program helps families move towards financial security and introduces pathways to economic opportunity. Enrolled families are given the opportunity to work one-on-one with a caseworker for an hour per week for up to 90 days.

Civic Engagement

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 in Mecklenburg County living in poverty.

By the Numbers

+

Individuals Served

More than 50,000 individuals were served in person or through local partnerships. 

$

Average Financial Assistance per Emergency

On average, a family may receive $392 in rent and/or utility assistance.

%

Children Benefiting from Our Services

Children under 18 made up 42% of those benefiting from Crisis Assistance Ministry services. 

We All Depend Upon Each Other

Due to health and financial issues, Tangejula was already at risk when the coronavirus appeared. Thanks to help from people like you she has something to be grateful for right now.

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We Are All In This Together

Emily and Jacob understand that we need to work together to lift our community up in these uncertain times and they invite you to do the same. Join the challenge and your gift will be matched up to $250,000 through April 30.

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Crisis Assistance Ministry Closes Facilities Due to COVID-19

Effective at close of business March 17, 2020, all Crisis Assistance Ministry facilities are closed until further notice due to the impact of COVID-19.

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Crisis Assistance Ministry Responds to COVID-19

Like many nonprofits, Crisis Assistance Ministry is adapting to help contain the spread of COVID‐19 and minimize the risk to employees, customers, and volunteers.

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Join the 2020 Challenge

You are invited to join the 2020 Challenge to make twice the difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. All gifts will be matched up to $250,000 through April 30.

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Funds Available To Help Families Behind on Utility Bills

Right now, many families are struggling to make choices between rent, groceries, and utility bills. Crisis Assistance Ministry can help. Special funding is currently available to prevent a disconnection of electricity or gas utilities for low income Mecklenburg County families.

Read More

Wells Fargo Foundation Invests $250,000 in Financial Security CLT

Wells Fargo Foundation has announced a grant of $250,000 designated to support the collaborative work of Financial Security CLT. Coalition members work collaboratively through advocacy to help families get on, and stay on, a path to greater financial security.

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Worried Grandma Finds Perfect Fit

A grandmother’s love is a fierce combination of worry and tenacity. Thanks to you and Steve’s Coats for Kids, Betty has two less worries after a devastating stroke put her family into financial crisis.

Read More

A Welcoming Space Thanks to Elevation Church

Elevation Church, a long-term partner, volunteers to bring breakfast or lunch to waiting families a few times a month. During those visits, they saw our Charlotte neighbors huddled next to outlets on the floor, waiting for their phones to charge. They saw children anxiously tugging on their parents’ arms asking to leave, restlessly tossing about in their seats, running around searching for any distraction. They saw this and decided to do something about it.

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Poverty Simulation Prepares Nursing Students for Community Practice

For aspiring nurses, an understanding of what life is like for people in underserved communities is a critical part of their education. At UNC Charlotte, students have a chance to experience what their patients may face on a day-to-day basis through Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Poverty Simulation.

Read More

“Good” Made Possible By You

Inside this issue of The Advocate newsletter, read about individuals and families who found hope because of your support, a key partnership helping neighbors understand their rights in the face of rising eviction rates, and more.

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Make It Count in 2020

It’s a new year and a new decade. That means it’s time for the decennial census which, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, has occurred every ten years since 1790. The census is an important part of our democracy, helping to determine the allocation of community resources.

Read More

Everybody Has a Story to Tell

Everybody Has a Story to Tell: You Changed Wendy's

Wendy first visited Crisis Assistance Ministry for help decades ago when her children were small.  Today, she is a member of the agency’s Board of Directors. Watch this brief video and listen as she shares how your support changed her family’s future.

A Story of Hope & Thanksgiving: Julia's Story

Just a year ago, Julia was feeling overwhelmed. Her family had already pushed through tragedy to get back into stable housing, but things would never be "normal" again. She visited Crisis Assistance Ministry for a little help, and thanks to a generous donor, found renewed hope for the holidays too. This is her story.

Empowered by Help with Utilities & a Brand New Stove: Patricia's Story

Patricia turned to the community for help through Crisis Assistance Ministry and found hope in the form of restored utilities and a working stove.

Ready to learn more about how you can help
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Preventing homelessness. Preserving dignity.