Crisis Assistance Ministry program gives families extended help

Crisis Assistance Ministry program gives families extended help

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by AMY COWMAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 12 at 6:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of families seek emergency help everyday from Crisis Assistance Ministry. Now the organization is receiving help in the form of a $200,000 grant from Bank of America to keep families from homelessness now and in the future.

Angela and Sanchez Crenshaw are planning their meals for next week. It’s just one of the budgeting lessons they learned from Crisis Assistance Ministry.
 
"The program was phenomenal, it was like a life coach," said Crenshaw.      
 
A year ago the Crenshaws found themselves on the brink of homelessness with two kids still living at home; they had both lost their jobs and couldn't pay the bills.
 
"We had been through our 401K, been through everything savings, it was months before we came, we had been through everything we had," said Crenshaw.
 
They began the 90-day Targeted Prevention pilot program with Crisis assistance, saving them from eviction but also planning for the future.
 
"We did not go out to eat, we had no cable, we had no car payments, we did nothing but the little money we had put to our bills, being in program, and we did financial fast for a year," said Crenshaw.
 
Every day Crisis Assistance helps hundreds of families with emergency temporary financial needs like utilities, but now with the help of $200,000 in Bank of America grant money, they can give more families extended help.
 
 "There may be some additional financial assistance but there's also a lot of coaching and social work that goes on with that helping people understand how they came to be in crisis and giving them tools on how to avoid it in the future," said Michelle Hamilton, with Crisis Assistance.
 
Now the Crenshaws both have new jobs, were able to stay in their home and have tools to keep them there.
 
"It just changed everything, again it empowered me to be beyond, it made me want to do even greater things," said Crenshaw.
 
During the pilot program they were able to help 25 families last year. Now with the grant money they hope to double that to at least 50 families this year and next.

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