CHA Paves the Way with Work Requirements and Washington Takes Notice
Public housing authorities have always had to strike a sensitive balance of providing affordable housing to residents who are financially fragile, while trying to move them to a level of independence where assistance is not needed. With the cost of living outpacing wages, that challenge becomes more and more difficult, and the obstacles these residents face can be overwhelming and distressing.
In search of a solution, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA), implemented a work requirement with supportive services plan for all non-senior and non-disabled households and residents.
In search of a solution, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA), implemented a work requirement with supportive services plan for all non-senior and non-disabled households and residents. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies (UNC) has studied CHA’s program results since it was implemented in 2014. UNC found that of the residents that participated in CHA’s initiative, that over 80% of the residents support the work requirement. In interviews, residents offered many positive impacts of the policy, including improved self-esteem, reduced financial stress, and serving as positive role models for their children. Prior to their research, there has been no rigorous evaluation of those requirements’ impacts on tenant employment and rates of eviction. NPR takes a look into CHA’s impact click to read more.
Meet Paulette Culbreth, She Didn’t Know How Much She Had
It is easy for us to focus on our problems to the point where we forget to take care of ourselves. It is at this point that we need to take a step back and start to see the whole picture. It is when we can step back and realize that those challenges do not have to be a barrier, but something that pushes us forward. Paulette Culbreth had to take a step back and realize all the resources around her to change her life for the better, and it was the best decision she has ever made.
Paulette is a resident of Southside Homes along with her two daughters Taqawnia and Airel. She also is a grandmother five strong boys Quantavis, Tyler, Ja’Kaden, Trevor and Garnett. They moved to Southside Homes four years ago from Claremont Apartments. As soon as they arrived Taqawnia was instantly networking with her neighbors and getting to know the community. Paulette, on the other hand, took a little time to come out of her shell. “I was not use to this. I’m from the country,” said Paulette. Taqawnia was not going to let her mother hide in the house, so she told Paulette about CHA’s Jobs Plus Center. It was great timing, because she had just lost her job. Paulette met with CHA Case Coordinator Chad Martin, and he asked her what she wanted to do as a career? Paulette never thought about what she wanted to do, but knew she wanted to set an example for her daughters and grandchildren.
Chad started enrolling Paulette in different programs where she learned skills that would prepare her for employment. After going to a career fair, she was offered a position as an HMS Hostess at the airport. Within two months Paulette had been promoted as a Supervisor. She could see her confidence growing and the CHA staff could see it too. Paulette admits to making some mistakes in life that cost her and her family, but now she is excited about her future and setting new goals for herself. Paulette shared her story with her neighbors. Residents began coming to the Jobs Plus office left and right from Paulette’s referrals. Even though she was happy, Paulette wanted a career she was passionate about. Paulette found herself back in Chad’s office. This time he sent her upstairs to meet Sophie Underwood, Employment Specialist for Grace-Mar Services. Sophie looked at Paulette’s resume and signed her up for the program “Celebration of You”. This class taught her resume writing, how to dress for success and how to set goals.
Paulette continued to attend every program she could, to become the best version of herself. CHA’s staff saw her dedication and genuine love for the community and offered her a position as a Community Jobs Coach. Paulette knew first-hand the impact that Jobs Plus on her life and the chance to do that for others, was a dream come true. Paulette is committed to showing her family that life’s setbacks, do not have to define your future. “I finally get to be the mother and grandmother I want to be for my kids and my grandkids,” said Paulette emotionally. Paulette’s journey is far from over. She still has much to accomplish and many lives to impact.
CHA knows Paulette is a great example of what happens when you step out of your comfort zone and we thank her for being a leader in the community.
C. W. Williams Community Health Center, Inc. Partners With The Charlotte Housing Authority And Opens A New Medical Center
The C. W. Williams Community Health Center, Inc. (CWWCHC) and the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) have joined together to open The Charlotte Housing Medical Center that provides high quality healthcare resources to the residents of Charlottetown Terrace and the underserved residents of Charlotte.
The Charlotte Housing Medical Center, located in CHA’s Charlottetown Terrace community, will serve as a medical home to Charlottetown residents to provide quality healthcare. This unique model is the ideal relationship between organization’s that share mutual missions of serving Charlotte’s most vulnerable residents. The Charlotte Housing Medical Center will provide on-site primary healthcare, pharmaceutical delivery services, diagnostic testing on site in the apartment community. Referrals to specialty care, including behavioral health, women’s health, and dental care are provided at CWWCHC’s main medical office.
“We are bringing vitally important primary care services closer to where people live and work. With dramatic increases in chronic diseases and behavioral health issues, the search is on for innovative strategies to reach people at their points of need,” said Debra Weeks CEO of CWWCHC. “This partnership is a clear example of leadership realizing that in order to have healthier communities, we must work together to serve the whole person.”
“The value of having easy access to quality healthcare cannot be underestimated for our residents,” says A. Fulton Meachem Jr. President and CEO of CHA. “Being able to address the healthcare needs of our residents holistically in a place where they feel comfortable and receive a continuity of care will be life changing.”
The medical clinic, located on the 11th floor at Charlottetown Terrace at 1000 Baxter Street, is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Expert staff will be available to assist patients in accessing other community resources, as well as assist them in signing up for healthcare insurance, and much more. The clinic will offer services through a discount sliding fee scale, ensuring care for all, regardless of ability to pay.
Honor Student, Leader, Volunteer, Musician, Athlete and Wake Forest University Bound
Being busy can overwhelm you at times, but it also keeps you active and creates experiences. Having a full schedule teaches you how to manage time and prepare you for the future. Rebecca Leathers is a recent graduate of South Mecklenburg High School, whose schedule is overwhelming, but she enjoys every minute of it.
Rebecca is originally from Boston, MA, her family relocated with their voucher to Charlotte four years ago. Being the oldest of four, Rebecca takes pride in being a positive role model for her siblings. One way she leads by example is her passion for education and extracurricular activities. She is the Executive Council Secretary for the student government, plays clarinet in the school band, and a part of multiple honor societies. The funny thing is that is just her in-school activities.
Not only does Rebecca have a passion for education, she has one for her community as well. Outside of school Rebecca participates in a jazz ensemble, her church and is a junior coach with Girls on The Run, a running club for young girls in school. Girls on The Run is a great way for Rebecca to use her experience running track to mentor and impact the lives of young girls in middle school. And with all these activities, she still makes time to babysit her younger siblings. Spending time with family is key since the graduating senior will be attending Wake Forest University in the fall.
Do not think Rebecca is done with her extracurricular activities, because she plans on being just as active in college as she was in high school. She wants to join a running club, student government, a community service club and an African American organization. She has all this drive, where did it come from? It came from her mother Jennis Farquharson. Jennis works at a local elementary school and has always stressed the importance of education to her children. “I have watched my mom provide for us, put clothes on our back and food in our stomachs. She shows me every day what it is to be a strong woman,” said Rebecca. Jennis is always pushing Rebecca to fulfil her dreams and succeed.
All of Rebecca’s hard work paid off, because she got into one of the nation’s top schools. Rebecca also earned a scholarship from the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund (CHASF). “It is great receiving the scholarship because I don’t have to worry about the financial burden of college as much,” said Rebecca with relief. With CHASF’s support, Rebecca can focus on her studies and enjoy the college experience. While she has not decided yet, Rebecca is interested in majoring in either International Business or African American Studies.