City with Dwellings began in 2012 as an ecumenical collaborative response to a critical need for Winter Emergency Shelter for homeless individuals in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Church and community leaders mobilized and engaged local congregations, community groups, and civic organizations to provide shelter and care for the community’s most vulnerable. Six years later, City with Dwellings is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit and we are able to maintain connections with these vulnerable individuals year-round through street outreach, case coordination, advocacy, and programming at the Community First Center.
City with Dwellings’ approach to working with vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness is based on a model of sustained, supportive community with the values of welcome, mercy, compassion, and advocacy informing everything we do. We believe in the inherent worth of every person and honor time staff and volunteers spend building relationships and trust with persons struggling with homelessness.
The transformative relationships built through City with Dwellings positively impacts volunteers, who gain a better understanding of vulnerable populations and the challenges homeless individuals must overcome. Our work is highly participatory and consistent with restorative practices. We believe it is more effective to work with and alongside individuals rather than doing things for them. These restorative practices strengthen relations between individuals as well as social connections within communities. Developing relationships of trust and engaging the wider community in our work enables City with Dwellings to effectively facilitate a coordinated community response to help house individuals and reduce recidivism.
You’ve heard the saying, ‘it takes a village.’ At City with Dwellings, we prefer ‘it takes a city’ to build community and end homelessness.