633 Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Lifestyle

633 Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

This Thanksgiving, let's be thankful for the basics: food, shelter, and an address.

66
Madison Yauger

The morning is coming to a close at the City With Dwellings overflow shelter. Nine men and women shuffle into the van, some quiet and keeping to themselves, and others chatting loudly. The seats are slightly worn, and the air conditioner makes a low humming noise. It’s bright, a light breeze coming in through the open windows.

One man holds an iPod shuffle, his headphones in as he stares outside. Another looks down at an Android phone, running his hands over the cracked screen. Each clutching bus passes, they began the 10-minute ride over to the Samaritan Ministries food bank to eat lunch.

After lunch, these individuals are on their own for the rest of the day, until they walk to one of the overnight shelters in the evening.

"If you think about it, these people are on their feet walking all day,” said Adrienne Polychron, 71, a volunteer at City With Dwellings. “When they get to the shelter at night, they are exhausted, and ready to go straight to bed.”

City With Dwellings opened in 2012 as an overflow shelter due to staggering numbers of homeless men and women in need of housing that winter. The two main year-round shelters in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, are Samaritan Ministries and the Bethesda Shelter. Even with their respective resources, they cannot sustain the massive number of homeless individuals that come to this city in the winter months.

City With Dwellings opens up as an overflow shelter from December through March each year. It can hold up to 80 - 100 men and women every night, utilizing the space within St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Augsburg Lutheran Church, and First Presbyterian Church, and typically takes in 300 - 350 for the 4 months that it is open.

During the remaining months, it provides a day center open from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Individuals can come to discuss housing options, receive bus passes, and connect with resources that can help them with employment and healthcare.

Lea Thullbery, head of City With Dwellings, has been volunteering with the homeless community for over 30 years, and said it has been “transformative.”

Both Bethesda and Samaritan are high-barrier shelters, which means that if there are any issues with an individual’s sobriety, they cannot stay there. City With Dwellings is low barrier, so they will take in individuals that may have some of these issues. However, the allotted time for any individual in these shelters is 90 days, and they must be out for 6 months before they are allowed to come back.

“Ninety days isn’t enough,” said Thullbery. “Winston-Salem is rich with resources for homeless individuals with disabilities, but they’re difficult to access without community support.”

The most recent study of homeless populations in Winston-Salem took place in 2013. The study indicated that there were about 407 homeless individuals living in Winston-Salem at the time, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

City With Dwellings is completely volunteer-based and costs about $60,000 a year to keep the doors open. It is funded solely by donations and grants from the city and the community.

Their priority is to make sure everyone has a place to stay every night. They arrange hospital stays for those who are sick and work with the Winston-Salem Police Department to detain highly intoxicated individuals in a sober room at the station until they can return to the shelter without cause for concern.

Polychron explained why she spends her free time at this shelter. “My friends always ask me, Adrienne, why are you doing this? The thing is, I’ve been volunteering my whole life. I enjoy talking to the people that come to this shelter, and I can talk to a wall, but I also like to listen.”

She went on to tell the story of one of their clients, who had been able to get a job working at the mall, but the pay was barely over minimum wage. He had to pay child support on top of what he was making, leaving nothing to live on. He was only able to work certain hours in order to meet the bus schedule and have transportation back downtown to shelter each night.

When the central public library closed in October of 2014, many homeless individuals who once sought daytime shelter there, found themselves on the streets, braving the coldest months in Winston-Salem, NC.

Store owners faced situations in which homeless men and women would see an open door, and wander in to seek warmth and, as one business employee phrased it, “to occasionally cry on your shoulder.”

According to the Downtown Bike Patrol, several stores on Trade Street even put up signs that read, ‘No Public Restrooms’ in order to dissuade individuals from coming into the store, who would potentially make their clientele uncomfortable.

Opie Kirby, owner of local establishment Finnigan’s, elaborated on how the homeless population impacted his business in particular.

“I’ve known Lea Thullbery for years, and I’ve volunteered at the shelter before and everything,” said Kirby. “But, I’m still running a business, and when I see individuals come in who won’t be able to pay their tab, I have to ask them to leave.”

“Many of these people are here because they have burned all of their bridges,” said Kirby. “I try to help out by making 500 sandwiches a year, but that only gives them a sandwich. It doesn’t solve any of their other problems.”

Thullbery, who was formerly the manager of Finnigan’s, has seen both sides of this dilemma. She emphasized that stores shouldn’t be villainized because they have to put their business and their customers first. She also encourages businesses to make a plan and post their policies, so servers will know who to wait on, and patrons will be dissuaded from buying food for homeless individuals and then leaving them alone in the establishment.

Kirby noted that while not an easy task, the best approach to help these people is to spend time and interact with them. Walking into a homeless shelter can be daunting, so, it’s important to be confident, because often there are individuals with mental illness and sobriety issues, and that can create feelings of uneasiness in many people.

Polychron oozes confidence when she volunteers, saying, “Never in four years have I felt at risk. They don’t want it to shut down, so they are very well-behaved. No one should be too intimidated to volunteer.”

Most people want to help those that are less fortunate but don’t know how to go about it. The natural inclination is to “throw money at the problem,” but as Kirby put it, “that isn’t going to change the cycle.”

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 Outcomes, Because It Has To End Eventually

You've heard a lot of possible outcomes thrown around, let's break them down.

If you log into any social media app, you will be overwhelmed with self-appointed experts, preaching the correct way to end this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the comfort of their La-Z-Boy chair. Aside from those dramatic children on TikTok, it's all anyone can talk about. There's an obvious reason for this — the pandemic has taken our world and flopped it on its head, bringing confusion, angst, and an obnoxious amount of sourdough bread into our lives.

All this to say, it's easy to get lost amidst the storm of arguments online. Instead, it's best to break down what's actually going on so we can have an educated perspective as we look to work together to move past our current predicament.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Raven Baxter Was Our Favorite Teen Fashion Icon And We're Still Recreating Her Best Looks, Here

We take a look at Disney's most fashion-forward show to recreate some iconic looks.

Disney Plus

I grew up in the early 2000s. And, like any child at the time, I was hooked on Disney Channel shows. My favorite was and is "That's So Raven."

Raven is a teenage psychic navigating life in hopes of not revealing her powers. Only her family and close friends know she has them. Her powers oftentimes get her in trouble, which is where the comedy comes in. But, they also teach her and her friends sentimental life lessons.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sobriety is so underrated, even when it comes to healthcare. The instant gratification of a substance or drink isn't exactly as gratifying as some people may think. For those of you who've never been hungover, consider yourself lucky — a hangover is biologically horrifying. A hangover is not instant gratification, so who are we kidding when people say "it just feels good." Being healthy actually feels good and won't hurt you or your bank account in the morning. The best way to be healthy is to choose sobriety.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ah, yes. The juice cleanse. Yet another popular diet trend that promises to magically solve all of your health, nutrition, and weight issues.

When you take a close look, juice cleanses aren't as magical as they are made out to be, and in fact, they might do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Unauthorized Plastic Surgery Is Totally Unethical, And Happening WAY More Often Than We Know ‬

Plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancements has you looking more botched than beautiful and it’s painful to see.

Coming from someone who could afford numerous cosmetic enhancing procedures I would never in a million years cut up my face or my body. I'm pretty emphatic and when I watch these brainwashed victims with bandages and chronic inflammation (swollen lips) I literally feel their pain.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've never been big on casual wear or athleisure. Most people who know me have never seen me in sweats. But, I do have those two or three pairs of sweats I can't resist climbing into the second I get home, the newest addition of which is the extra cozy Odyssey crewneck sweatshirt I got in an XL size to feel as close to being wrapped in a blanket at all times as possible.

In the past several months, I've started to expand my horizons, considering the ways in which I can bring my small wardrobe of comfortable bedroom clothing into the public. I've experimented with topping leggings and a sports bra with a denim jacket to the park, and an oversized sweatshirt worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with a belt when I'm out wearing leggings.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How To Dress Like Your Favorite 'Insecure' Characters — Without Spending $2,000

We take a look at the fashion of Insecure season 4, and how you can create these looks yourself.

HBO

Insecure is one of my favorite shows ever. It really encapsulates what it's like being a Black 20-something, trying to navigate the many ups and downs of life. Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that.

From life to relationships to careers, this show truly captures everything that runs through my mind on a daily basis. The show has a sense of realness and a strong frankness that makes you gravitate toward the characters and root for their success.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments