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Operational Changes A Success

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On July 2, Urban Ministries of Durham launched an innovative new weekday schedule to meet our guests’ needs more effectively. The key innovation is concentrating our cafe, food pantry, clothing closet, and emergency shelter check-in at the beginning of the business day, rather than at scattered times during the day.

To make this possible, we changed our Monday-Friday lunch service from cafeteria style in the middle of the day to a more convenient packed lunch that guests receive during breakfast, 8-9 a.m., to take and eat wherever their daily business may lead them. This frees guests to spend the day looking for housing or a job, working, pursuing education, or connecting with community services and benefits. For breakfast and dinner and for weekend lunches, our menu, serving times, and staffing didn't change. All meals are still available to anyone who is hungry.

Concentrating services saves guests trips to UMD, as a person can now receive several services in a single visit. This is crucial for our guests, who typically walk or rely on public transportation. It was often inconvenient or impossible under the prior schedule for a guest to visit us for breakfast, take a bus across town to a job interview or other opportunity, and then get back to UMD on the bus before lunch ends at 12:30. Now, she’s able to visit UMD at 8 a.m., eat breakfast, receive a bag lunch, take the bus wherever she needs to go, and not have to return to our campus until dinner. A food pantry or clothing closet client can arrive at 8:30 a.m., eat breakfast, pick up a bag lunch, then go straight to the lobby for pantry and closet intake, which begins at 9 and is finished by 11.

The same goals underlie the changes to shelter check-in for overnight guests. We have shelter intake only twice per week, Monday and Thursday, and we’ve moved the intake time to 9 a.m., right after breakfast. We now check in short-term shelter guests for a full week at a time, rather than just a single night. (We still accept referrals from other agencies any day we have available beds.) This saves each person the hours they would have spent standing in line daily, alleviates their worry about where they will sleep tomorrow and the day after, and allows them to focus for full days on longer-term priorities such as permanent housing, employment, overcoming barriers to stability, and connecting with community resources. So, a homeless man who needs shelter can come to UMD on Monday morning, have breakfast in the café, receive a bag lunch, and then check into our shelter for a full week. By 10 a.m., he has the whole work week ahead of him and knows where he is sleeping every night and where all his meals are coming from. He returns to UMD between 6:45 and 7:45 p.m. for dinner and checks into the shelter between 7-8:15 p.m. to sleep in his reserved bed.

Though this was a big adjustment at first, operations are running more smoothly, and clients are making excellent use of the services and the extra time the new schedule gives them. That is, the innovations accomplish the goal we exist to serve: moving people from homelessness and crisis to stable homes of their own. Thank you for being part of this vital work.

News & Needs

May 12, 2017

UMD could not offer food, shelter and a future without the help of more than 4,000 volunteers annually.

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Apr 21, 2017

We're excited to be a finalist for Indy Week's Best of the Triangle in the Durham nonprofit category.

Click to give Urban Ministries of Durham the win.

Best of the Triangle 2017 - VotingView this post on Facebook

Mar 17, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham shared Vert & Vogue's photo.

Shop for a cause! Thanks V&V; in the past few years you and your customers have raised enough money to end homelessness for two people.

✨ Come shop to support your neighbors in need! ✨ On Saturday, March 18th, we are donating 20% of the days total in-store and online sales to UMD.

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Mar 17, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham added 3 new photos.

Stop by and shop the latest spring collections at Vert & Vogue tomorrow, Saturday, March 18th and help your neighbors in need.

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Mar 07, 2017

Are you watching the Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament today? Much of North Carolina is or wants to -- and that includes homeless men staying in our shelter, a very basic, barracks-style bunkroom.

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Mar 04, 2017

And the Empty Bowls Judges Choice Awards went to: Croasdaile Retirement Village, first place; Bleu Olive, second place; and Mothers & Sons Trattoria, third place.

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Mar 03, 2017

Empty Bowls was a great success.

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Mar 01, 2017

Great story by Anthony Wilson WTVD aired tonight! Check it out and get your tickets: http://umdemptybowls.eventbrite.com.

Now in its 11th year, the Empty Bowls fundraiser for Urban Ministries brings local chefs together in a friendly competition to see who can make Durham's best soup.

Chefs compete to make Durham's best soupView this post on Facebook

Mar 01, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham shared Anthony Wilson WTVD's video.

Anthony Wilson WTVD takes you behind the scenes of his story that will air this afternoon at 4:30 and 5:30 on ABC 11 about how chefs and potters prepare for Empty Bowls, to be held Thursday, March 2, at Durham Convention Center.

Go behind the scenes of today's #abc11together story about #EmptyBowls, the annual #UrbanMinistriesOfDurham fundraiser! Durham Convention Center executive chef James Archer makes chowder as photojournalist Jim Schumacher captures the action you'll see on TV:.

Go behind the scenes of today's #abc11together story about #EmptyBowls, the annual #UrbanMinistriesOfDurham fundraiser! Durham Convention Center executive chef James Archer makes chowder as photojournalist Jim Schumacher captures the action you'll see on TV:View this post on Facebook

Feb 28, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham added 2 new photos.

Enjoy chef-made soups, artist-made bowls and festivity to offer neighbors food, shelter and a future.

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Feb 20, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham added 2 new photos.

Soups for March 2's RTI International Presents Empty Bowls to Benefit Urban Ministries of Durham have been announced, including selections by Littler Durham, Dashi, Luna Rotisserie & Empanadas and 12 others! See the list and buy tickets http://umdemptybowls.eventbrite.com.

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Feb 13, 2017

Urban Ministries of Durham shared A Lotta Love's post.

This transformation was remarkable.

Today was another fantastic day for A Lotta Love.

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Feb 13, 2017

Sneak peek at some of the bowls being produced for RTI International Presents Empty Bowls 2017 to benefit Urban Ministries of Durham! Be sure you buy your ticket today for the March 2 event, and select a ticket level that entitles you to one of these beauties.

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Jan 27, 2017

Tickets are now on sale for Empty Bowls, UMD's signature fundraising event March 2 featuring soup from a dozen of Durham's best restaurants and artist-made bowls.

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Dec 30, 2016

Urban Ministries of Durham added 2 new photos.

Share a financial gift through Urban Ministries of Durham to offer food, shelter and a future to neighbors in need like Kathy House and Anthony Jackson.

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Dec 13, 2016

Can't name London.

Urban Ministries of Durham is selling the naming rights to all of the items that connect our clients to food, shelter and a future.

The "Your Brother Underpants of Compassion"View this post on Facebook

Dec 05, 2016

This plunger helps end homelessness at Urban Ministries of Durham.

Urban Ministries of Durham is selling the naming rights to all of the items that connect our clients to food, shelter and a future.

It's just stuff -- until you don't have itView this post on Facebook

Dec 02, 2016

Urban Ministries of Durham added 3 new photos.

Urban Ministries of Durham is once again proud to participate in the Triangle Tree Challenge at American Tobacco Campus.

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Dec 02, 2016

Urban Ministries of Durham added 4 new photos.

Thank you Cisco Systems @ RTP, for volunteering to decorate the Community Cafe and other spaces at Urban Ministries of Durham in holiday regalia.

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Dec 01, 2016

While Urban Ministries of Durham case workers help a homeless person make a plan to gain income and affordable housing, we provide him or her a safe place to sleep in our Community Shelter.

Click to donate now and shelter a homeless neighbor this holiday season, getting him or her on the road to a sustainable way of life.

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Nov 28, 2016

Urban Ministries of Durham doesn't just provide emergency meals and shelter -- we help solve homelessness.

With your holiday contribution, this work can continue.

Connecting the community to offer food, shelter and a futureView this post on Facebook

Nov 22, 2016

Once again www.NamesForChange.org is offering you the naming rights to dozens of items Urban Ministries of Durham uses to solve homelessness.

Urban Ministries of Durham is selling the naming rights to all of the items that connect our clients to food, shelter and a future.

Name this bear -- or underwearView this post on Facebook

Nov 22, 2016

Urban Ministries of Durham shared Indigo Envelope's photo.

Indigo Envelope, a Durham invitations and paper goods company, is donating a fifth of the price of their holiday card sales to offer food, shelter and a future to neighbors in need at Urban Ministries of Durham.

If you're going to purchase holiday cards this year, consider making a donation to help someone who is struggling right now.

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Nov 17, 2016

As you prepare to be thankful with your family, please know Lorie is thankful to everyone who made Urban Ministries of Durham available to her http://tinyurl.com/helpUMD.

The community offered Lorie food, shelter and a future.

The community offered Lorie food, shelter and a future. Donate to help: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/UMDurhamView this post on Facebook