GREENSBORO, N.C. - It's always tough for families to find shelter, but for those facing homelessness, it's even more difficult to do in the summer.
Greensboro Urban Ministries Director of Programs Mark Sumerford says that is because there are less spaces for families, and the wait lists are longer. He says that could be connected to school being out for the summer. Add those factors to slower turnover for families in shelters than individuals, plus a greater difficulty finding affordable housing.
“Whereas Urban Ministries has room for 100 individuals at our Weaver House shelter, here at Pathways there's only room for 16 families,” explained Sumerford. The Pathways Center, he said, is specifically studio space for families.
He says the space issue plagues almost every shelter, and that people from far corners of the Triad call to get on the waiting list, because family housing options are so limited.
It’s a problem is hitting single parent Harold Mangrum especially hard.
“My main reason for the shelter is not because of me,” he said, “I could just sleep up under the bridge. Or find somewhere to sleep, but I can't do that, and I refuse to do that with my son.”
Mangrum says he needs a place to stay because he lost his job after not finding someone to care for his son. He says between rent for his current apartment, and childcare services - he can't afford it - so eventually, he could wind up on the streets. He says after calling a number of different places around the Triad - many could not finding him a space, because they're at capacity for family shelters.
Shelter workers say the spaces are split for security reasons, and because families have their own unique needs.
According to Partners Ending Homelessness, a Greensboro organization, the latest numbers show there are about 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in Guilford County. Of that number, most are males.