Greensboro, N.C. - If you lost your job today, think about how long you could survive before you had to move in with a family member, or even worse, end up on the street. Even if you had a little savings, it wouldn't take long to start missing your rent or mortgage payments
The number of people who need some kind of assistance in Greensboro alone might surprise you. There's an organization that helps people get their lives back. But, now even it needs help.
At this time last year, the Interactive Resource Center was helping about 70 people a day. Now, it helps 200. The IRC has a steady stream of donations, but the explosion of need in the community is outpacing the money coming in.
To save money this month, the IRC had to start closing on the weekends. The IRC's mission is to help people get the skills they need to get off the streets and back into the workforce.
Staff members provide everything ranging from computer classes to job-interview training to counseling and housing assistance. Last year, 132 people got a full-time job with the help of the IRC. In February, they helped prepare 280 resumes and helped people apply for 650 jobs.
On Thursday, IRC client Jason Mobley got a job thanks to the services the agency provides. "It's a family setting and people don't push you out there unless you're ready. If you're ready to spread your wings, this is where you come to the next. This is the nest for a lot of things and a lot of different people," Mobley said.
Anita Gilmore, another client, has also benefitted from the program. "They helped me to regroup, refocus and regain my life again, in spite of my disability. So, I went from disability to compatibility," Gilmore said.
Although word on the street is out about how the IRC will give you more than just a shower or some food, the challenge is explaining the value to others.
Executive Director Liz Seymour said, "There are many people who don't know we exist and a lot of people who don't know the need for what we do exists as deeply as it does."
If you'd like to help the IRC or learn more about it, visit www.gsodaycenter.org
There's also another situation that's causing problems for organizations like the IRC.
Large foundations that shell out grants to non-profits have to be careful to protect their investment and make sure the money lasts for as long as possible. That's why many rely on a formula that involves an average of the last twelve quarters. In this case, that puts us back to 2008 or 2009, a time when the economy was struggling even more so than now.
The Community Foundation estimates funds are down about 25 percent from where they are typically.
Senior Vice President Tara Sandercock said,"Right now, we've been thinking of it as riding the undertow and those of us that are investing in non-profits through grants and endowment payouts are really in that lowest point."
Despite the current downtown, Sandercock says things are looking up and the foundation expects see funds return to their typical level by this time next year.