A Wake County agency founded to reduce homelessness is facing a massive influx of calls for help even as it struggles to help people already in need find permanent homes. 

The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness is often the first point of contact for people facing homelessness in Raleigh metro area—those who may be evicted or displaced by rent increases, development projects, disaster, or demolitions.

The nonprofit runs a crisis hotline that helps connect people to emergency shelters, programs that move people into stable, permanent housing, and programs that can provide financial assistance. Essentially, they coordinate referrals to local nonprofits and government programs.

This week, calls to the partnership’s hotline spiked after city building inspectors deemed a local hotel unsafe, forcing long-term residents to leave. The Quality Inn hotel on New Bern Avenue has had 14 failed inspections since January, and lacks working smoke alarms, emergency lights, and carbon monoxide detectors, WRAL reported

Residents of the hotel told WRAL they have nowhere else to go. 

City councilman Corey Branch said the city is working to find people housing, but local nonprofits are already overwhelmed, according to a news release from The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness. 

The partnership is already working to move 626 people, currently housed in temporary shelters or receiving street outreach services, into permanent housing. But the delays they’ve faced have created a bottleneck, resulting in a backlog of 475 outstanding referrals to shelter, the news release stated. 

“The aftermath of the pandemic, cost of living, and lack of housing stock has resulted in a huge waitlist for services in our community,” Executive Director Kim Crawford said in the news release. 

“Our heart breaks for the guests at the New Bern Avenue hotel as they likely will be at the end of a very long list of people that have also suffered notices to vacate.”

The nonprofit is calling an emergency meeting today to try and address the crisis. 

“This situation highlights the gaps in our community that prevents the rightsizing of the homeless response system to meet the needs of our neighbors,” Crawford said in the release. “We need permanent housing solutions, prevention programs, and diversion funds to keep people in similar situations as our neighbors on New Bern from ever entering the system.”

How To Help

If you want to help people at risk of becoming homeless, there are a few immediate things you can do. 

  • Become a housing provider partner by renting your property through Wake County’s Landlord Engagement Unit. Signing up through the Lease 2 Home program could provide financial incentives. 
  • Does your faith community or civic organization have flexible funds that could be used for diversion initiatives? Contact us at hello@partnershipwake.org or call 919-443-0098.
  • Donate to the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness 

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Follow Staff Writer Jasmine Gallup on Twitter or send an email to jgallup@indyweek.com.