Evergreen Foundation gifts $40,000 to homeless foundation

Feb 07, 2014

The Evergreen Foundation has supported nonprofits in the seven western counties of North Carolina since 1977. With a mission to improve the lives of those who have mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental delays; the Evergreen Foundation has funded many initiatives throughout the region.

Their latest commitment is testament to their support of youth within the area. The Evergreen board of directors has committed $40,000 towards the Homelessness to Hope Community Project, a project aimed at expanding support services to abused, troubled or at-risk youth. At the heart of the project is the renovation of a new location for Hawthorn Heights, an emergency shelter for adolescents.

The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness reports that in the seven counties served by the shelter, up to 10 percent of the population is homeless, but of the homeless population, up to 80 percent are children. The state also ranks Western North Carolina as having the highest number of child abuse and neglect cases.

“As the only runaway/homeless youth shelter for teens west of Asheville, this facility is critical to our region, which is why the board of directors chose to fund it so generously.” said Thomas McDevitt, executive director.

Operated by Barium Springs, the shelter provides a safe haven for boys and girls, ages 12–17, who run away, suffer from abuse and neglect, or are homeless. In operation for 41 years, the current facility is no longer safe or adequate for the level of at-risk youth served.

On Sept. 27, 2012, Barium Springs, through a gift from the Nancye F. Markle Trust purchased a 6,300 square foot ranch home outside Bryson City. Since then, the Homelessness to Hope Community Project has focused on gaining the financial support for the necessary renovations. After the renovations, the new facility will have nine bedrooms, a large kitchen for life skill lessons, counseling offices, and education space. In total, the shelter will be able to accommodate 15 percent more youth per year.

“We are very grateful for this significant contribution towards the Homelessness to Hope Community Project,” said CEO John Koppelmeyer.  “Statistics reveal that many young people in the seven western counties are at risk of homelessness and extreme poverty. With community partners like Evergreen, we work to overcome these challenges and provide a brighter future for youth in WNC.”

Barium Springs has raised a total of $470,994 for the project to date; 70 percent of the $669,508 goal. If you would like to support the Homelessness to Hope Community Project please contact the Office of Development at 231-5413.