I had the privilege of attending the annual Rebuilding Lives Breakfast that serves as an information session and fundraiser for Urban Ministries of Durham, which works hard to break the cycles of poverty, homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse in people's lives.
It's been a strong year for Urban Ministries financially. Last fiscal year ended with a $267,000 deficit. They closed this year $6,000 in the black, an announcement that drew hearty applause from the several hundred packed into the banquet hall at the Washington Duke Inn.
Regaining solid financial footing came despite 12% increase in the number of people housed - 52,291 nights of shelter to 1,248 guests. The shelter also served 219,552 meals, an 11% increase over last year.
Perhaps the best stat: more than 70 folks moved successfully from the shelter to stable housing and jobs.
The audience heard moving testimonials from folks the shelter is helping put away destructive behaviors from the past and have hope for the future.
One of those included Angela Holmes, a mother of 7 who moved into the UMD shelter with her family six months ago after she felt the need to end her marriage. She's still looking for work, but says UMD has given her hope.
"I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to UMD for giving my family a place to lay their heads," she said.