The city of Fayetteville in North Carolina is well known for housing one of the largest Army
bases in the world, however, like many major cities across America, it also has a problem with homelessness.
Last year, the city saw a 75 percent increase in homelessness since 2020, bringing the total number of homeless people to 475, according to Cumberland County Community Development.
Of those 475 people, 392 are considered unsheltered homeless, which means they do not have stable shelter and are living in places such as cars or under bridges, the community
development office reported.
Fortunately, Fayetteville has several organizations that are working to provide shelter,
meals, and basic necessities such as toiletries and clothing. The Salvation Army, The Dream Center, Operation Inasmuch, Connections of Cumberland County, and Fayetteville Urban Ministries are among those organizations – all nonprofits and many of them faith-based groups.
My mother, Shelley Hudson, is the former social services director for the Salvation Army branch in Fayetteville. Starting June 2022, she will run the Day Resource Center, a national agency dedicated to providing permanent shelter and resources to the homeless community across the country, originating in Texas, the Day Resource Center has built a community of support across the nation that provides services and resources to homeless individuals to prepare them for permanent housing.
As the newest player in the Fayetteville homeless community, the Day Resource Center will be a one-stop shop for those experiencing homelessness to get services to prepare for permanent housing. They will have access to showers, wash clothes, as well as resources that help them develop resumes, job training, access to a doctor, dentist, and mental health counselor as well as providing meals and snacks throughout the day. The resource center is expected to open in late June.
She also is one of the only Black people to take a lead in aiding Fayetteville’s homeless
community. I am writing about her for Black History Month because in a community dominated by white women, my mom is a Black woman that genuinely has a passion for helping people, she moves selflessly and pushes those around her to really think about what is best for the homeless community and with her connection to the community whether it be the Black church, or underserved communities she relates to them in a way her peers cannot in order to serve them better.
My mother has been servicing the homeless community in Fayetteville since 2017. With a
background in counseling and more than 20 years as a first lady in the Baptist church, she has a heart for giving. You can find her serving dinner to the homeless each week day or driving all over town so that she can find one of her regulars that she hasn’t seen for a while to make sure they are safe.
Hudson says “Those experiencing homelessness, people tend to demonize them and they are just people”.
As the newly appointed program director for the Day Resource Center in Fayetteville, her role is to develop programs and resources for the homeless community.
Though Hudson is new to this role and the resource center will be new to the community, she has a long-standing relationship with the homeless in Fayetteville. As a Black
woman, it is important to her to provide community. She knows many of the individuals by name and has spent many hours driving around the city to find her regulars when she has not seen them in awhile. She has provided a safe haven for many of the individuals experiencing homelessness, going beyond serving meals and providing shelter. She gets to know them for who they are on a personal level so that she can best provide the services they need. She is often complimented for providing a home even when they do not have shelter. Hudson says “I feel it is an honor and our duty to give back to those less fortunate than us.”
If you would like to volunteer any of the below agencies are always looking for volunteers to
help serve meals and provide donations. If you would like to work with the Day Resource
Center, you can reach out to Shelley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.