Archive | Research + Publications

April Newsletter: Help CEF Celebrate Spring

Spring Appeal 2021!

Running Through June 30

Spring is here and it is time to kick off our 2021 Spring Appeal! We are so appreciative of the love we received during the uncertainty of last year. The generosity and affirmation from our community gave us the strength we needed to support folks on the path to financial independence.

This year, as we move towards a new normal, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact CEF Members. As the housing and labor markets continue to lag behind the needs of our community, we remain hopeful that everyone will find a stable home and meaningful employment.

Donations support CEF’s ongoing work to end the racial wealth gap. Any amount will help ensure CEF remains strong and vibrant as we continue to evolve. Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham and an anonymous donor will be matching donations from new and returning donors for up to $5,000.

CEF Durham Spring Celebration!

CEF Members and Advocates are invited to attend!

Sat, May 1st from 1:00-3:00 PM at Lyon Park Picnic Shelter -1200 W Lakewood Ave

A celebration of Advocates moving on to their next adventure, Members who have reached milestones in their journeys, and all of us who have made it through this roller coaster of a year!

Families welcome. Covered dish optional. Masks required. Music, hot dogs, and beloved community provided! RSVP by calling or texting CEF Durham at 919-797-9233.

We hope to see you there!

Pedestrian Safety Initiative in Chapel Hill – Get Involved!

Town of Chapel Hill relaunches Road to Zero Task Force

Did you know the Town of Chapel Hill has a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan? With this plan, the Town aims to make active transportation (walking, biking, using a wheelchair, rollerblading, etc.) safe, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone in Chapel Hill. This is part of our “Road To Zero”- zero pedestrian traffic fatalities.

 In order to deliver on this goal, the Town has launched a Road to Zero Task Force. This group will focus on equity, public engagement, and safe routes to school, providing advice and recommendations to Town staff. We want this task force to be collaborative and inclusive of all Chapel Hill residents and visitors.

We need strong, inclusive community engagement to ensure the success of this initiative. Volunteer opportunities include serving on the task force, helping with community outreach, providing input on your walking experience, and more.

Are you interested in these topics? Do you want to help ensure Chapel Hill is a safe, walk-able community? Contact Jordan Powell, Complete Streets Specialist, at jpowell2@townofchapelhill.org with your interest!

A Note from the Board

One-year anniversary of Donna Carrington as Executive Director!

In March, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Donna Carrington’s leadership as Executive Director! We are so grateful for the gifts and love that Donna brings to her work, which inspires everyone daily. During a year of immense change and challenge, in the midst of the pandemic and a new organizational structure, Donna led CEF with care and perseverance. We appreciate Donna’s willingness to ask critical questions, acknowledge systems that are not working for CEF Members, and work toward a shared, more equitable vision of the future for our community. Donna is recognized as a wonderful collaborator with our external partners and is trusted and respected. These are just a few of the reasons why Donna is the perfect person to be leading CEF. Thank you, Donna, for your leadership!

-Brian Smith and Karen Eldridge, CEF Board Co-Chairs

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month:

This month, Diiv would like to highlight transportation to and from Orange County courts. The Orange County Bail Bond Justice Project is generously providing funds for folks with court hearings. The Uber funding and Orange-Chapel Hill Connector bus vouchers are being maintained by the Criminal Justice Resource Department.

Requests for transportation assistance can be made by emailing or calling Ted, Cait, or Allison at the CJRD or coming to the CJRD Courthouse office.

Ted Dorsi: tdorsi@orangecountync.gov, 919-245-2970

Cait Fenhagen: cfenhagen@orangecountync.gov, 919-245-2303

Allison Zirkel: azirkel@orangecountync.gov, 919-245-2304

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie would like to highlight End Hunger Durham’s directory of local food pantries. End Hunger Durham envisions a unified and just food system where healthy food is available to everyone. Their directory contains locations, hours of operation, contact info, prerequisites, and more!

You can find the directory here.

Office Availability Updates

When are the offices open?

Durham has no changes to hours this month. The Chapel Hill office has several changes to be aware of listed by date below and will be closed the last week in May. Any new updates regarding hours will be shared via email and social media.

CEF Durham’s Office Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 10:00am – 12:00pm & 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Thursday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Friday: 1:00pm – 3:00pm

CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours:

May 3-7:

Monday-Thursday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Thurs: 5:00pm – 7:00pm

May 10-21:

Tues-Thurs: 10:00am-3:00pm

May 24 through June 2: CLOSED

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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March Newsletter: Meeting of the Minds, Social Media Survey

Meeting of the Minds

Finding Your Voice

Meeting of the Minds, established in 2016, is one of CEF’s Member-led advocacy groups. The group focuses on the lived experiences of those at 30% AMI and below. Members of the group engage with local government to address the need for housing. Meetings happen on the second Monday of every month at IFC. Changes to the schedule are sent out over the email list. This year, the group is working to amplify the voices of members who feel unheard. Everyone in the Chapel Hill community is invited to attend, especially politicians and leaders who want change for people who feel they don’t have a voice. If you would like to sign up for the Meeting of the Minds email list please contact Yvette directly at 919-200-0233 or email Val at Valerie@communityempowermentfund.org

Social Media Engagement Survey

In less than 5 minutes you can be a huge help!

Throughout spring, the Community Empowerment Fund is working with Consult Your Community, a student-led consulting group at UNC which aims to support local non-profits and socially minded organizations which serve marginalized and minority populations. This survey, intended to gain information about your social media tendencies, will help inform the types of content that CEF shares.

CEF Member surveys are due April 4 and Donor surveys are due April 8. Click the buttons below to start your survey.

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month:

For April, Diiv would like to highlight the Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development’s updates on Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA). Now anyone (under 60% AMI) needing help with rent (arrears or upcoming) or utilities can get it! Folks who have gotten EHA help in the past can still get it now! There is no longer a $6500 limit. Folks who are behind on mortgage payments can once again seek assistance.

Click here to learn more about EHA and what the program offers!

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie would like to highlight City of Durham’s Water Hardship Fund. The Fund, part of a program administered by the Durham County Department of Social Services, helps residents pay their past-due water bills. It cannot be used for penalties and fees. Through a simple online process, you can apply for up to $240 in assistance per year if you are having a documented hardship, have past-due bills, and are in danger of having your water cut off. If you think you might qualify, please complete the Water Hardship Fund application form. If contacted, you may be asked to provide identification, proof of income, a copy of your water bill, and other information.

Click here to access the Water Hardship Fund application.

Office Hours

When are the offices open?

There are no changes to CEF’s office hours in April and no upcoming scheduled office closures. Any new updates regarding hours will be shared on CEF’s website and social media.

CEF Durham’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday; 1:00 pm – 3:00pm Friday

CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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February Newsletter: CEF Art Show, Apply to be an Advocate, CEF is hiring

Share the Love: Art Show 2021

Thank you to everyone who made CEF’s first virtual Art Show a big success!

We are grateful for to everyone who attended and your insightful comments. Thanks for showing your appreciation to each of the artists. We hope you enjoyed the amazing presentations, from Kohl’s 2D sticker bomb art to Robin Ess’ powerful performance of “Soulfully.” Here at CEF, we believe that everyone is creative, resourceful, and whole. We are so excited we had the chance to share the abundance of creativity with you.

For those who were not able to attend the art show, we have posted a recording of the show to the CEF website for you to enjoy! Click here to find that recording and feel free to download the program guide, watch the show, and reach out to any of the participants to inquire about purchasing their art!

We hope to see you at the next virtual art show!

Become a CEF Advocate in Chapel Hill

CEF Chapel Hill is looking for new Advocates!

We are looking for more talented and dedicated Advocates to work with Members and assist them in reaching their goals. Advocates will need to be able to commit to working with Members before, during, and beyond their transitions out of housing insecurity!

Advocates are not required to have background knowledge, as CEF provides initial and on-going training but Advocates are required to be lifelong learners.

The CEF Chapel Hill Advocates will have mandatory trainings on May 18, 19, and 20 from 5:30-8:30pm EST. Applications are due by Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Learn more about being an Advocate and apply here!

CEF is hiring

There are two open positions we are looking to fill!

The Cross Geography Staff Support role is a part-time position focused on supporting CEF’s Durham and Chapel Hill, NC offices. This is an in-person position, though some meetings may be attended remotely. The Cross Geography Staff Support will be responsible for providing a consistent and welcoming presence for Members and Advocates during office hours by staffing office hours and working one-on-one with Members in the office. They will also be supporting the Office and Community Organizer with any duties to ensure COVID-19 and safety protocols are followed by staff, Advocates, and Members. Applications for this role will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Bookkeeper & Administrative Assistant for Development and Finance (BAADF) role is a full-time, salaried position that works closely with CEF’s Director of Development & Finance. The BAADF will support Finance efforts by tracking income and expenses in quickbooks, development efforts by supporting the donor thank you process, and communication efforts by creating and posting on CEF’s social media channels.The BAADF will have a combination of on- and off-site work; some tasks and duties will be performed in both CEF’s Chapel Hill and Durham offices (primarily in Chapel Hill), and other tasks will be completed remotely. Applications for this role are due Friday, February 26, 2021.

CEF’s Executive Director Sits Down with UNC Media Hub

‘People in housing insecurity are people too’

CEF Executive Director, Donna Carrington, recently had a chat with Julia Masters from UNC Media Hub.

During this conversation, Donna discusses her experience with housing insecurity and how that informs her leadership at CEF, her vision for the organization, and her demands for Durham and Orange county in regards to affordable housing and community support.

Click here to read Julia’s article on their conversation. Thank you to Julia for providing a safe space for Donna to share her story.

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month:

This month, Diiv would like to highlight the Orange County VITA Program. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a volunteer program that provides individuals with low-income, free federal and NC state income tax preparation.

As a result of COVID-19, the program now offers various options for contactless filing. To work with a VITA trained volunteer, call 919. 245. 4242. VITA will also assist with using resources such as GetYourRefund.org or TaxSlayer.

Click here to learn more about VITA and what the program offers!

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie would like to highlight a list of emergency financial assistance resources for individuals experiencing financial hardships.

This list was put together by CEF volunteers and staff. Please contact these places if you are in need of financial assistance or share with individuals in need!

If you need support contacting these places or are still in need of financial assistance after contacting them, please call the CEF office to schedule an appointment with an Advocate.

Click here to access the Durham: Emergency Financial Assistance Resources

Office Hours

When are the offices open?

There are no changes to CEF’s office hours in March and no upcoming scheduled office closures. Any new updates regarding hours will be shared on CEF’s website and social media.

CEF Durham’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday; 1:00 pm – 3:00pm Friday

CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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January Newsletter: CEF Art Show, We are Hiring, Laundry Packages Program

Share the Love: Art Show 2021

You are invited!!

The annual CEF Art Show is back!

The Art Show is one of our annual events where the community comes together and appreciates the many talents that Members have. Our community has phenomenal artists, including wood artists, painters, poets, quilters, and musicians! Here at CEF we believe that everyone is creative, resourceful, and whole. We are so excited to help share the abundance of creativity in our community!

The pandemic has disrupted our ability to host the CEF Art Show in-person but don’t worry, we are moving it online. Please join us February 16, 2021 at 6pm EST for the free art show! Click here to register.

We hope to see you there!

We are hiring!

The Cross Geography Staff Support position is a part-time position focused on supporting CEF’s Durham and Chapel-Hill, NC offices.

This is an in-person position, though some meetings may be attended remotely. This position will be responsible for providing a consistent and welcoming presence for Members and Advocates during office hours by staffing office hours, working one-on-one with Members in the office, and supporting the Office and Community Organizer with any duties to ensure COVID-19 and safety protocols are followed by staff, Advocates, and Members.

Click here to learn more and apply. Applications are due by February 12, 2021.

Support the Laundry Access Program

The Laundry Access Program is responsible for distributing laundry packages, which include quarters and laundry pods, for anyone living unsheltered in Orange County.

Since launching in November, 42 packages (84 loads of laundry) have been distributed and 28 individuals have participated with over a quarter of participants using the program more than once.

Our partnering organizations such as Street Outreach, IFC Community Kitchen, UNC Homelink, and CHPD Crisis Unit have communicated the continued need for this program.

To donate laundry detergent pods, please contact the Chapel Hill CEF Office at 919. 200. 0233.

Final Call for Summer 2021 Interns and Advocates

CEF Durham is hosting part-time and full-time internships this summer.

Part-Time interns will work paid in the Durham office at ~16 hours a week. Scheduling is flexible based on other responsibilities. Full-Time interns will work ~32-35 hours a week at $10/hr. Everyone is eligible to apply, including all current Advocates (regardless of time spent at CEF) and people who aren’t currently Advocates!

The CEF Durham internship begins May 24, 2021 and ends August 6, 2021. Learn more about the CEF Durham internship here and apply here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of Friday, February 5, 2021.

If you are interested in getting involved with CEF sooner, CEF Durham is also accepting applications for the Spring 2021 Advocate Cohort. Learn more about being an Advocate and apply here!

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month:

This month, Diiv would like to highlight the update to CDC’s national eviction moratorium. An Executive Order signed by President Joe Biden ordered the CDC to extend the moratorium through at least March 31. The order also extended restrictions on foreclosures with federally-backed mortgages through at least March 31.

These orders are in anticipation of congress passing additional COVID-19 relief. Once more updates are given by the federal government, we will be sharing them with the community.

Please click here learn more about these executive orders.

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie would like to highlight the update for NC COVID-19 vaccinations. There are two active groups who are able to receive vaccinations at the moment. Group 1 includes Health Care Workers and Long Term Care Staff and Residents. Group 2 includes anyone 65 years old or older, regardless of health status or living situation.

Please click here to learn more about the vaccinations and find sites where individuals in group 1 or 2 could get vaccinated.

Office Availability Updates

When are the offices open?

Both Durham and Chapel Hill Offices have slightly new hours starting in February! There will be no upcoming office closures in February. Any new updates regarding hours will be shared via email and social media.

CEF Durham’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday; 1:00 pm – 3:00pm Friday

CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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December Newsletter: Vigils of Remembrance, Holiday Campaign, Summer Interns

Join CEF this week for Vigils of Remembrance

Honor and grieve those who are not going into the new year with us.

This year has been unpredictable and unsettling for many people. A lot of people we know and love have passed away during these uncertain times. CEF is hosting two vigils, one in Durham and one in Chapel Hill, to remember the lives lost.

Please join us, this Thursday (12/17) at 2634 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd at 3:30pm and/or this Friday (12/18) at 179 E Franklin St at 5:00pm. At both vigils, there will be an opportunity to share a song, message, or brief story to honor those who you have lost this year.

Masks and social distancing are required. Both events will be outside, please dress appropriately for the weather.

Thank you for continuing to support the 2020 CEF Holiday Campaign

We are $10,000 away from our goal! All donations made before the end of the year will be doubled! You can always donate at communityef.org/donate.

This year we have a Holiday Campaign goal of $66,500 to continue efforts of cultivating assets and opportunities to support CEF Members, especially during this time of economic uncertainty! Thanks to a generous group of CEF donors, your gift to CEF will be doubled through Dec 31, 2020 – up to $25,00!

Thanks to your generous donations, we have raised over $56,000! We appreciate your commitment to help sustain our work in the Durham and Orange County communities.

It is not too late to give. All donations made through December 31, 2020 will be matched! To be a part of our work for change, we invite you to share a financial contribution. All donations make a big impact and are appreciated greatly, please give at whatever amount feels meaningful to you!

CEF is looking for Summer 2021 Interns and Advocates

Both CEF Offices are hosting part-time and full-time internships this summer. Part-Time interns will work unpaid at ~16 hours a week. Scheduling is flexible based on other responsibilities. Full-Time interns will work ~32-35 hours a week at $10/hr. Everyone is eligible to apply, including all current Advocates (regardless of time spent at CEF) and people who aren’t currently Advocates!

The CEF Durham internship begins May 24, 2021 and ends August 6, 2021. Learn more about the CEF Durham internship here and apply here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of Friday, February 5, 2021.

The CEF Chapel Hill internship begins June 1, 2021 and ends August 6, 2021. Learn more about the CEF Chapel Hill internship here and apply hereApplications are due by January 24, 2021.

If you are interested in getting involved with CEF sooner, CEF Durham is also accepting applications for the Spring 2021 Advocate Cohort. Learn more about being an Advocate and apply here!

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month:

This month, Diiv is highlighting the Laundry Access Pilot. $500 in pilot funding was used for 58 separate Laundry Packages for distribution to anyone living unsheltered in Orange County. Since launching in November, 20 laundry packages have been distributed by our partners at the Street Outreach and Harm Reduction and Diversion (SOHRAD) Team and the Crisis Unit of the Chapel Hill PD. You can access laundry packages through any of the participating partner programs (which are listed on the flyer above) including our Chapel Hill office.

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie is highlighting End Hunger Durham. End Hunger Durham supports those in need of food by providing reliable information, networked collaborations, and advocacy for policies and initiatives aimed at ending poverty and hunger. Visit End Hunger Durham at this link for a searchable list of food pantries in Durham! You can search by zip code, times of service and call specific locations for more information.

Office Availability Updates

When are the offices open?

Both Durham and Chapel Hill Offices will have upcoming winter closures. The Durham Office will be closed Friday, Dec 18, 2020 – Friday, Jan 8, 2021. The Chapel Hill Office will be closed Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020 – Friday, Jan 8, 2021. Both offices will be closed Monday, Jan 18th, 2021.

Please be aware that during these closures, there will be limited ways to access mail and complete Safe Savings transactions. If you have any questions about these closures, please check-in with a CEF Staff Member.

In January, offices will resume their typical COVID-19 schedule:

CEF Durham’s Office Hours: 10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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November Newsletter: CEF Appreciates Your Support!

Thank you for making the first virtual Piggy Bank Bash a success!

Because of your donations, CEF was able to surpass our goal and raise $15,685.76!

With over 85 participants, some joining from as far away as the Virgin Islands, the Bash was a joyous celebration of all the things the CEF Community has accomplished in the past year, and will strive to accomplish in the upcoming year.

The CEF Advocacy Choir encouraged us to not give up despite the hard times we are enduring now and that “we look so much better when we smile.” Robert Watson, CEF Member, shared how comforting it has been working with Advocates through stressful situations. Executive Director, Donna Carrington, reminded us that under her leadership she hopes “CEF remains a place where members feel supported in their dreams and goals, that staff feels supported in wrestling with the values we hold dear, and the wider community sees CEF as a place to come to for information and resources.”

We are grateful for all who participated. It was a night full of stories, laughter, and unity.

And, we appreciate our sponsors for this event:GRUB DurhamThe Center for Intentional LeadershipRob Lammé and AssociatesEvoke StudioPilot Benefits, and PNC.

It’s not too late to support CEF! Join the 2020 CEF Holiday Campaign!

All donations made before the end of the year will be doubled! You can always donate at communityef.org/donate.

With the appearance of COVID-19, this year has been unprecedented for CEF. Many CEF Members have had to pull money out of their Safe Savings Accounts in order to ensure that they will have financial security during this pandemic and CEF has adapted strict COVID-19 procedures to ensure CEF Members are getting the support they need while being safe.

This year we have a Holiday Campaign goal of $66,500 to continue efforts of cultivating assets and opportunities to support CEF Members! Thanks to a generous group of CEF donors, your gift to CEF will be doubled through Dec 31, 2020 – up to $25,000!

Our work is sustained by the generosity of individuals who believe in our mission, as well as foundations and corporations. We look to those we care about to help us sustain a growing, creative, and supportive community. To be a part of this change, we invite you to share a financial contribution.

All donations make a big impact and are appreciated greatly, please give at whatever amount feels meaningful to you!

We are collecting winter items for the CEF Community!

Inspired by the amazing Coat Drive organized by Lucas Risinger (Orange County Advocate) and Yvette Matthews (Orange County Office & Community Organizer), in partnership with Rumors NC and UNC SFI, CEF is continuing to collect new or gently used winter items for Members!

As it gets colder these items are essential, so please consider bringing in items to either office! Winter items include warm coats, sweaters, shirts, pants, scarves, gloves, etc… Please call the Orange County office at 919. 200. 0233 or the Durham County office at 919. 797. 9233 if you have any questions.

Keep in mind CEF office hours and scheduled winter closures (see below) when preparing to drop off items.

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resources of the Month:

This month, Diiv is highlighting the COVID-19 Move In Packages Program and the COVID-19 Transportation Program. These are programs by the Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development. These funds must be used by December 31st, 2020. The Move In Packages Program is a fund that can be used to buy items or services necessary to a participant’s housing stability since March 1, 2020. Eligible goods include furnishings, bedding, basic small appliances, cleaning supplies, etc… and eligible services include furniture delivery cost, moving truck rental, furniture or personal property storage. The Transportation Program is a fund that can be used for essential transportation cost related to a participant’s housing. Eligible transportation cost include public transportation pass, account credits for ride sharing mobile applications, etc… and eligible services include repairs to a participant’s vehicle and purchase of a bicycle. If you would like more information or need help accessing either of these programs please call CEF’s Orange County Office at 919. 200. 0233.

Durham County Resources of the Month:

This month, Debbie is highlighting the City of Durham – Water Hardship Fund and Fed Up! Political Food Distribution. The Water Hardship Fund by Durham County Department of Social Services exist to help residents pay past-due water bills. Through a simple online application, you can apply for up to $240 in assistance per year if you are having a documented hardship, have past-due bills, or are in danger of having your water cut off. Fed Up! Political Food Distribution by NC Poor People’s Campaign, Carolina Jews for Justice, and Raise Up NC is distributing produce boxes every other Friday in the Parking Lot at Lakewood Shopping Center. They will be there next Friday, 12/04!

Office Availability Updates

When are the offices open?

CEF Durham’s December Office Hours: 10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

CEF Chapel Hill’s December Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday

Both Durham and Chapel Hill Offices will have winter closures due to volunteer unavailability. The Durham Office will be closed Friday, Dec 18, 2020 – Friday, Jan 8, 2021. The Chapel Hill Office will be closed Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020 – Monday, Jan 11, 2021.

Please be aware that during these closures, there will be limited ways to access mail and complete Safe Savings transactions. If you have any questions about these closures, please check-in with a CEF Staff Member.

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

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October Newsletter: Celebrate CEF at the Piggy Bank Bash

Join us for CEF’s annual Piggy Bank Bash on Monday, November 16 from 6:00-7:00 pm EST!

There are many reasons to attend the Piggy Bank Bash this year. Watch the video above to hear why Jessie Maxwell, CEF Board Member and Treasurer, is excited to join you as an MC at the Bash this year. In case Jessie isn’t compelling enough, here are an additional five reasons we hope you’ll join us:

  1. Celebrate CEF’s new leadership and focus on centering voices of people with lived experience with homelessness and poverty.
  2. Learn more about CEF’s innovative work in housing and economic justice.
  3. Listen to songs by the CEF Advocacy Choir.
  4. Hear from Members and Advocates about the importance of CEF in their lives.
  5. Hang out with the CEF Community, near and far (a virtual bash means friends from all over the country, and world, can attend)

During a year that has been defined by social separation, CEF is excited to host a night where our community can come together to reconnect and celebrate together. It is time for joy!

This year, CEF redistributed almost $35,000 to Members through the Safe Savings Campaign, trained and worked with over 200 Advocates, and continued to safely meet and work with over 1,000 Members. The Bash is an opportunity to honor these, and other accomplishments made possible by the CEF community.

The Piggy Bank Bash is also an important fundraising occasion for CEF. The donations and sponsorships received from this event allow CEF to continue working with Members in Durham and Orange Counties to achieve financial stability, become securely housed, and find steady income.

You can reserve tickets for the Bash here.

While tickets for the event are free, all donations are warmly accepted as this is CEF’s annual fundraiser.

Staff Highlight: Tawana Brown and Debbie Long

Meet some of CEF’s new staff members:

Tawana Brown is the Growing Household Income Fellow in CEF’s Chapel Hill office. Her role focuses on strengthening CEF’s workforce development services, integrating CEF’s financial services into countywide initiatives, and directly supporting Members.

Debbie Long is the Member Services Coordinator in Durham. Debbie plays an important role in many of CEF’s partnership-building efforts, ensures equitable program implementation for Members, and provides supervisory support for Member-led advocacy initiatives.

To learn more about them and their work, check out this Staff Highlight blog post!

Resource Request!

Support Members by donating single-use laundry pods!

The Chapel Hill office is asking the CEF community to donate single-use laundry pods, e.g. Tide Pods, to distribute to Members. Your donations will help stretch funding to support Members’ laundry needs. For more information about what is needed or how to drop off donations, email Chapel Hill’s Member Services Coordinator Diiv Sternman at diivs@communityef.org.

Thank you for your contributions!

November Office Hours

Chapel Hill (Nov 2-13): 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday

Durham (Nov 2-13): 10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

From November 16-20, hours will be based on Advocate availability–please call the office to make an appointment. Both offices will be closed November 23-27 and will reopen on November 30.

Members must schedule appointments in advance–meetings can take place in-person, over the phone, or using a video software (such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet). Please specify your preference when you call to make your appointment.

Debbie and Diiv’s Resources of the Month

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, Debbie is highlighting Durham Drives’ Free Ride to the Polls. This organization is offering free rides to voting locations for all Durham residents. To schedule a ride, visit durhamdrives.org or call (919) 809-9242. If you would like to volunteer with Durham Drives, sign up on their website!

Orange County Resource of the Month:

This month, Diiv is highlighting Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness’ new Street Outreach, Harm Reduction, and Deflection Program. The program, which began operations on October 19, will focus on working with unhoused people to connect them with resources like medical care, housing programs, and therapeutic services, and liaison with entities within the criminal justice system to ensure that harm reduction deflection is being applied equitably and with trauma-informed, evidence-based best practices. Program staff will be actively going into the Orange County community to connect with and support people experiencing homelessness. This new program is a great resource for local unhoused folks.

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September Newsletter: Supporting and Engaging with CEF!

Fun Ways to Support CEF!

CEF is partnering with two local businesses to uplift our work, and potentially fund our services. To make the most of these partnerships, CEF needs your support!

Vote for CEF in the Campaign for Local: Community Nonprofit Advertising Fund!

This competition will decide which local organization will receive free advertising on 97.9 The Hill and Chapelboro.com. If chosen as the winner, CEF will use these funds to publicize our services, attract attention to the upcoming Piggy Bank Bash, and grow the CEF community. Please vote for CEF here. You can vote multiple times a day between now and September 25. We can’t win without your help.

LocoPops is hosting a Give Back Day to benefit CEF !

On Monday, September 28, LocoPops will donate 10% of pre-tax revenue from online sales to CEF! This Give Back Day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy delicious pops and ice cream, support a local business, and benefit CEF. Place your order on September 28 for pickup or delivery on Tuesday, September 29. Order online here!

CEF Board Co-Chair Brian Smith Invites You to the 2020 Piggy Bank Bash!

CEF ‘s annual Piggy Bank Bash will be held on Monday, November 16 from 6:00-7:00 pm EST!

The Piggy Bank Bash is an opportunity for people new to CEF to learn more about our work, our values, and the communities we work with, and for CEF’s growing community of Advocates, Members, donors, and staff to come together and build deeper relationships. This year’s event will be held virtually, and CEF is excited that community members from all over the country and world will be able to participate. As in past years, the Bash will include songs by the CEF Advocacy Choir, door prizes, and opportunities to hear directly from Members, Advocates, and staff.

While tickets for the event are free, all donations are greatly appreciated as this is CEF’s annual fundraiser. You can register for the Bash here. To make a donation, click here or text the code ‘PIGGY’ to 44-321.

Learning About the Racial Wealth Gap

A 2016 survey of the U.S. showed that the median wealth of white families was 10 times greater than that of households of color. Check out CEF’s newest blog post about what the racial wealth gap is, how it came to be, and how it can be addressed, there is even a game to demonstrate how individual choices can perpetuate the racial wealth gap.

October Office Hours

CEF Chapel Hill’s October Office Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday

CEF Durham’s October Office Hours: 10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday; 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone are encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

For consistent updates about CEF’s office hours, check out this document.

We’re Hiring!

CEF is looking for an Office and Community Organizer for the Durham Office.

Applications are due by October 5, 2020.

This position is responsible for bottom-lining office operations in the Durham office and connecting CEF Members to community organizing opportunities. The Office and Community Organizer creates a welcoming, healing centered office environment that emphasizes each person as creative, resourceful, and whole.

For more information and application instructions please visit www.communityef.org/hiring

Debbie and Diiv’s Resource of the Month

This month, CEF’s Member Services Coordinators Debbie and Diiv each choose a resource to highlight in the geography they work in.

For Durham County, Debbie is highlighting the Fed Up Food Distribution program and political organizing effort coordinated by NC Poor People’s Campaign, Carolina Jews for Justice, and Raise Up NC. If you are interested in receiving grocery delivery to your home every two weeks or want to volunteer, call 919-797-9233.

For Orange County, Diiv is highlighting a free COVID-19 testing opportunity. You can go and get tested for free every Wednesday from 10 am – 2 pm at 725 M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. There is no need to pre-register for a test. The results of the test are usually available in 3 days and will be communicated via text.

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August Newsletter: Ways to Connect with CEF

Save the Date for the 2020 Piggy Bank Bash!

CEF ‘s annual Piggy Bank Bash will take place virtually on Monday, November 16 from 6:00-7:00 pm EST!

Please join CEF to celebrate the accomplishments the CEF community has made during 2020.  The Piggy Bank Bash is an opportunity for people new to CEF to learn more about our work, our values, and the communities we work with and for CEF’s growing community of Advocates, Members, donors, and staff to come together and build deeper relationships. This event will include songs by the CEF Advocacy Choir and testimonials from Members and Advocates about the importance of CEF in their lives.

While tickets for the event are free, all donations are greatly appreciated as this is CEF’s annual fundraiser. You can register for this event here. To make a donation, click here or text the code ‘PIGGY’ to 44-321.

Time + Talents Podcast

CEF’s Durham Office is excited to bring you the Time + Talents Podcast!

Time + Talents is CEF’s Member-driven advocacy platform in Durham. Due to the pandemic, Durham’s Office and Community Organizer Rosa Green arranged this podcast as a way to continue bringing information and resources to CEF Members while observing social distancing. The topic of each episode is chosen by Member feedback; the first episode of the podcast focuses on various matters related to housing. Advocates Lily Levin and Lizzy Kramer host the podcast and interviewed a Member, CEF’s Housing Access Coordinator, a Duke professor, and an Assistant Director for Durham’s Aging and Adult Services. Check out the episode here for a great conversation about evictions, renter’s rights, and local resources.

Give Back Day with LocoPops!

On Monday, September 28, LocoPops will donate 10% of pre-tax revenue from online sales to CEF!

Give Back Day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy delicious pops and ice cream, support a local business, and benefit CEF. Place your order on September 28 for pickup or delivery on Tuesday, September 29. Order online here!

September Office Hours

After the breaks each office took during August, CEF is excited to be open for the month of September!

Chapel Hill’s September Office Hours:

10:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Friday

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

Durham’s September Office Hours:

10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday

CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone are encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.

For consistent updates about CEF’s office hours, check out this document.

Debbie and Diiv’s Resources of the Month

This month, CEF’s Member Services Coordinators Debbie and Diiv each choose a resource to highlight in the geography they work in.

For Durham County, Debbie is highlighting an opportunity to get a free COVID-19 test at White Rock Baptist Church on Saturday, August 22 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm. The church is located at 3400 Fayettevilee Stree, Durham, NC 27707. To learn more, visit onsms.org/durham.

For Orange County, Diiv is highlighting the Orange County Eviction Diversion Program. This program helps fight evictions by providing legal help and emergency housing assistance funds to people who qualify. To see if you qualify, call 919-245-2655 between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday or 12:00 am to 6:00 am Sunday through Thursday.

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The Knowledge Series

The Knowledge Series is a project dedicated to sharing information with our communities on how housing discrimination manifests today. Throughout this week, we will share a series of posts that delve into the history of housing discrimination and what it looks like in our everyday.

Please read our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3.

Part 4: Why do these systems continue to exist?

Systemic housing discrimination is still present in modern-day. While it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on race, Black families are still negatively impacted by discriminatory practices, both past and present. When discriminatory practices are used, ending those practices is not enough for people to experience equity–reparations must be made to repair the harms that have been caused. Since the United States has not participated in reparations for Black families, they are still experiencing extreme disparities, especially in housing and financial security. 

We’ve discussed in previous posts that Black people make up 51% of the homeless population in Orange County, while only making up 12% of the general population. American slavery and systemic racism, backed by Jim Crow laws, set Black communities back hundreds of years in their attempts to accumulate wealth and assets. Laws throughout the South mandated racial segregation in almost all public facets and denied Black people basic civil, economic, and social rights, including the right to vote. This continued through the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s (and some would say still continues today), making the idea of property ownership and asset accrual for Black families nearly unattainable (“Jim Crow Era,” 2020).

These historical elements, as well as more modern practices such as redlining, white* flight, and gentrification, have had a substantial impact in our own backyard. The wealth that Black communities were able to generate in places like Durham, was systematically taken from them throughout the 20th century through such practices. Additionally, the Northside District of Chapel Hill has been heavily gentrified by UNC students in search of off-campus housing.  

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was built by enslaved Black people who were exploited for their labor. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Black employees of the university were funneled to the Northside District because it was one of the least proximate areas to campus at the time (DeWulf, 2017). Northside has been a predominantly Black neighborhood for 175 years, but it is now experiencing gentrification as UNC students seek affordable off-campus housing. 

Off-campus living has become increasingly popular for college students in Chapel Hill (with 50% of UNC students currently living off-campus). Many students moved to the Northside District specifically for its relatively affordable rental prices. Furthermore, as the university has grown in geographic size, the Northside District is now comparatively closer to campus than many other off-campus housing options (Cheek, 2017). Nearby Carrboro, also being heavily gentrified, has many high-quality restaurants, thrift stores, and boutiques that add additional appeal for college students. The interest in off-campus housing has driven up rent prices throughout the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, as landlords see no issue with charging college students above-market rents and has pushed Black residents out of the Northside, a reduction of 60% between 1980 and 2010 (DeWulf, 2017).

As Northside becomes more and more “desirable,” middle-class families have also moved into the area. This further isolates longterm residents of the Northside District from their own community. Since white families moving into neighborhoods like Northside make, on average, two times what Black families make, they are more likely to take advantage of low property costs in historically Black neighborhoods in order to buy homes (Badger et al., 2019). Many of these families renovate their new homes, increasing property values, which leads to increased taxes for entire neighborhoods (Badger et al., 2019). As other middle-class families (typically white) see families that look like them and nice-looking houses they are more likely to purchases homes in the same neighborhood, further gentrifying the area. 

Durham, as we discussed yesterday, has also been deeply impacted by housing discrimination. Specifically, the impact of redlining on Black communities in Durham has led to long-lasting disparities for Black neighborhoods. In the 1950s-70s, a phenomenon known as white flight occurred throughout the U.S. This was a process of white people moving out of urban areas, particularly those with significant Black and Brown populations, and into suburban areas, in an attempt to distance themselves from communities of color. White flight causes areas to suffer economically from reduced tax income (due to population losses) and also contributes to harsh policies (Semuels, 2015). 

In recent years, Durham’s downtown has also been impacted by gentrification as it has become host to many luxury stores, critically-acclaimed restaurants, and crafty boutiques. When businesses like these move into an area they make it difficult for residents who have lived there for decades to keep up with the rapidly increasing cost of living. The practice of gentrification throughout Chapel Hill, Durham, and the rest of the Triangle, has made housing inequality and segregation even worse (DeMarco and Hunt, 2018).

Black people in the United States face racism every day, but it is often overlooked that racism is deeply ingrained in the housing search process. Things like credit checks, background checks, reference letters, and requiring multiple months of rent upfront disproportionately and negatively affect Black people in their housing search. When you throw in systemic barriers and racist practices, like redlining and gentrification, it imposes a greater hardship on low-income and communities of color. Discriminatory housing practices like redlining and gentrification may not seem racist at face value, but hopefully, the posts in this Series have provided some context to the deeply systemic racial barriers that have plagued Black families in their goals of financial independence and housing security for hundreds of years. 

Join us tomorrow for some insight into the work CEF is currently doing and to hear why our mission is so important. CEF is actively working to provide resources to Members experiencing homelessness and/or financial hardship and to dismantle oppressive policies and practices that create a cyclical experience of poverty and housing insecurity for Black people and other people of color. This advocacy work, along with continued education among Staff and Advocates, helps us provide the best support for people experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity in Orange and Durham counties. 

*In general, CEF uses APA grammar rules in our writing. The APA says that the names of race and ethnic identities should be capitalized, as they are proper nouns. For this series, and moving forward, CEF is intentionally leaving “white” (when referring to a racial identity) lower-cased. We recognize that by capitalizing words we are giving them power and we do not want to encourage white power in any way. Unlike the AP’s explanation for why they are choosing to lower-case “white” we want to be clear that we believe white people do have a shared experience–that is one of privilege. We also believe that undoing racism is the responsibility of white people and worry that implying that white people do not have a shared experience (as the AP does) is a dangerous tactic that is aimed at discounting the responsibility that white people have in undoing racism and white supremacist culture. Ultimately, we know that race is a construct but that racial differences are not. They are real and need to be addressed directly. For any questions or clarifications around CEF’s choice of words please contact ari rosenberg (arir[at]communityef.org).

Badger, E., Bui, Q., & Gebeloff, R. (2019, April 27). The Neighborhood is Mostly Black. The Homebuyers Are Mostly White. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/27/upshot/diversity-housing-maps-raleigh-gentrification.html?searchResultPosition=1

Cheek, S. (2017, April 6). Competition for housing helps drive Chapel Hill rent up to highest in state. The Daily Tar Heel. https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2017/04/increase-in-chapel-hill-rent-prices-driven-by-competition-for-housing

De Marco, A., & Hunt, H. (2018). Racial Inequality, Poverty and Gentrification in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina Poverty Research Fund. https://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/durham_final_web.pdf

DeWulf, S. (2017, March 2). Saving Northside, the largest black community in Chapel Hill. Omnibus. http://mejo457.web.unc.edu/2017/03/saving-northside-the-largest-black-community-in-chapel-hill/

Jim Crow Era. A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States. (2020, July 28). Georgetown Law Library. https://guides.ll.georgetown.edu/c.php?g=592919&p=4172697

Semuels, A. (2015, July 30). White Flight Never Ended. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/white-flight-alive-and-well/399980/ 

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233

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