CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The SAFE Charlotte program just released its latest round of grant recipients and this time, two of the main focuses are pairing mental health and workforce development as a way to hopefully deter crime.
Through the work of Care Ring and the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), these organizations say they plan to work within the brown and Black communities to address the barriers of trauma, incarceration, and unemployment.
“We don’t believe people commit crimes just because they want to," CEO Site Director Maya Feemster-Jones said. "We believe that people want to live and not just live but thrive.”
But in order to do so, leaders at Care Ring believe the stigmas of mental health can not be overlooked.
“Health is wealth and we want people to be able to live their best life," Care Ring Executive Director Tchernavia Montgomery said. “We are trying to dispel any myths and to give a space that’s going to be comfortable for people to access the service.”
Much of the efforts will be centered around the Albemarle Road and Central Avenue corridor. That's also where CEO will work to create transitional job programs ultimately leading to permanent job placement through employers like the city and county, Bojangles, Lowe's and Atrium Health.
Over the next two months, Care Ring and CEO plan to use the grant funding to develop a specialized plan focused on reducing crime and increasing community success.
“We can design programming that’s thoughtful, programming that’s targeting this population and their specific needs we’re not cookie-cutting an approach to serve anyone," Montgomery said.