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My Sister's House

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It started as a vision more than two years ago: The Rev. Clifford A. Jones Sr. told members of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church that he wanted them involved in helping the homeless in Charlotte.

Since then, the church has provided overflow shelter for the local Salvation Army, all while promising to do more.

On Saturday, members gathered to officially christen the “My Sister’s House Transitional Living Center,” a 26-bed unit that will provide local women with not just a roof and hot meals but employment and life skills coaching as well.

The all-female unit will be run by the Friendship Community Development Corp., a nonprofit arm, and will be housed in a church-owned building across Beatties Ford Road. Its first residents are scheduled to move in Monday (March 8).

“This was a vision that we talked about almost two years ago,” Jones said Saturday at the ribbon-cutting event, “and now we can stand humbly and gracefully and say that you are providing a place for my sisters. We’re excited about that and know that the Lord has to be pleased with what has happened and what is going to happen.”

Of the 26 permanent beds, six are reserved for young women who have aged out of the foster care system, said Friendship CDC Director Jennifer Coble. In addition, she said, the center can accommodate up to 15 overnight guests on cots in a large multipurpose room.

Coble said the center’s goal is to help the women get back on their feet, not simply to provide food and shelter. Some residents will stay for up to two years.

“We are trying to be the change we want to see,” Coble said. “We are taking care of our sisters. We’re not waiting for anybody else to do it. We made the commitment.”

The building was formerly known as the Friendship Enrichment Center and was used for multiple purposes. It was leased to the church’s CDC under a 20-year agreement, and the City of Charlotte gave more than $400,000 to make the building suitable for residents, church officials said.

Jones said the Transitional Living Center is a wonderful example of church, government and community working together.

The women who live at the center will, for the most part, be referred by the Salvation Army and other social service organizations. The first group will range in age from 18 to 58.

Iris Hubbard, who has a background in social services and currently serves on the Charlotte Christian School Board of Trustees, will be the center’s director.

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October 5, 2015
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