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Cardinal Innovations and Urban Ministry Center Help Homeless

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Urban Ministry Center — March 17, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHARLOTTE, N.C., MARCH 17, 2015 – Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions recently selected Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, N.C., as the Charlotte PATH provider to serve individuals who are homeless and have a mental illness or both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.

The NC Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness Program (PATH) funding is provided to North Carolina from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). PATH provides assertive outreach, case management, and other support and services to adults with serious mental illness or co-occurring substance use disorders. The focus of the PATH program is to serve adults who are homeless – living on the streets, in camps or abandoned buildings – or adults at risk of becoming homeless.

In November, Cardinal Innovations accepted responsibility for $324,042 in PATH funding from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. These funds were earmarked for use in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, to help connect adults with mental illness diagnoses and co-occurring substance use disorders to housing and community health services. Cardinal Innovations put out a Request for Information in the Mecklenburg Region. Urban Ministry Center, an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing the community together to end homelessness, has been selected by Cardinal Innovations to serve as the Charlotte PATH provider.

“Urban Ministry Center is a perfect match to administer the Charlotte PATH Program,” said Tammy Gilmore, Vice President of Community Programs for Cardinal Innovations. “They have strong community partnerships, are already using the database required and have staffing knowledge since they currently have similar positions to those provided by PATH.”

The Urban Ministry Center’s effort to help homeless veterans is another reason the organization was selected. PATH funding also is intended to address veteran homelessness, giving preference to veterans whenever possible. The Urban Ministry Center has a strong partnership with the local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and provides office space weekly to a VA representative to meet with veterans who are experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the Urban Ministry Center’s Outreach and Engagement team works closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, which provides a rental subsidy and case management to chronically homeless veterans.

The Urban Ministry Center will use the PATH funding to add a team leader, two outreach workers, two SOAR specialists to help individuals access disability income, and one peer support specialist. The team will focus on finding, serving and assisting individuals who are homeless with mental health disabilities, helping them with supportive housing, disability income and to establish a medical (mental health) home. Charlotte PATH requires a local match of $108,014, which cannot include federal or state funds. Urban Ministry Center leaders said their local match will come from existing funding.

“Urban Ministry Center is grateful and excited to partner with Cardinal Innovations on this new initiative focused specifically to help homeless individuals suffering mental health challenges,” said Dale Mullennix, executive director. “This funding will empower us to take quick and more comprehensive action, expediting services for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Urban Ministry Center is the project manager for Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg, a 26-partner initiative to end homelessness by 2016. Cardinal Innovations is a member of the partnership, which will be instrumental in achieving this goal. An estimated two-thirds of chronically homeless individuals suffer at least one mental health disability.

Approximately 450 people visit the Urban Ministry Center’s main campus daily at 945 N. College St., where basic services including a soup kitchen, laundry, showers, and counseling are available. The Urban Ministry Center also organizes emergency shelter (Room In The Inn) during the coldest months, December-March, provides substance abuse education and recovery treatment in the SABER program, and offers permanent supportive housing for 175 formerly chronically homeless individuals. In 2014, the Point-In-Time Count for Mecklenburg County was 2,014 documented homeless individuals of which 860 were adults with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

“Soon after we began to operate in Mecklenburg County, Cardinal Innovations’ Mecklenburg Community Operations Center selected Urban Ministry Center as a priority community partner, whereby we volunteered two consecutive days at two of their sites as a means of supporting efforts to reduce homelessness,” said Nicole McKinney, Vice President of Mecklenburg Region Community Operations for Cardinal Innovations. “The insights we gained during this experience were not only indicative of the admirable work that Urban Ministry Center does each day to positively impact the lives of many, but it also heightened our awareness regarding the pressing need to quickly explore additional supports for thisinitiative. We are very excited about being awarded the PATH grant and also honored to have the implementation provided by such a well-established leader in our community.”

PATH programs also are available in Asheville, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Statesville and Chapel Hill. Cardinal Innovations is responsible for the Chapel Hill PATH program.

Learn more about the Urban Ministry Center at www.urbanministrycenter.org. For more information about Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, visit www.cardinalinnovations.org.

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