Nonprofits expect increased demand for services after extended benefits expire

Jun. 26, 2013 @ 07:53 PM

Several Durham nonprofits that serve people in need and other groups expect to see increased demand for services after the expiration of the state’s federal extended unemployment benefits.

Bryan Gilmer, director of marketing and development for Urban Ministries of Durham, said he expects the nonprofit will need increased support from the community as additional people come to nonprofit after losing extended benefits.

“I think that we’ll see more people in our café for the three meals a day that we provide to anyone who’s hungry; (we’ll) see more people in (our) clothing cabinet and food pantry,” Gilmer said. “And some people will become homeless because they lose their sources of income and won’t be able to pay their rent or mortgage.”

Gilmer said anyone can have a meal in the nonprofit’s café, but there are some qualifications for use of its Community Food Pantry and Clothing Closet. The nonprofit can serve 26 households a day from its food pantry.  It can be used by people with elderly members of their household, people with children or the disabled.

“We’re already hitting that limit and having to turn people away, so there’s not a lot of excess capacity, I’m afraid,” he said.

Ryan Fehrman, executive director of the Durham’s Genesis Home, which provides shelter for 15 homeless families at a time, said the shelter already has a waiting list. Any increased demand for services would be hard to fill.

“Anybody that loses their unemployment benefits that then is evicted or foreclosed on, folks that potentially wind up requiring shelter, the line is already long and it’s only going to get longer apparently,” he said.

Christy Simmons, public relations manager for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, said the organization has no way of knowing what demand they’ll see, but they expect increases.

“With the looming cuts, we can only assume that the pantries, soup kitchens, rescue missions with whom we partner will see an increase; we have no way of knowing how much of an increase that might be,” she said.

Tanya Spaulding-Hill, manager of the Durham JobLink Career Center, said in an email that the center is expecting an increase in traffic flow as people come into the centers looking for help with job searches.

Two locations in Durham -- at Northgate Mall and on Briggs Avenue  -- provide help with recruitment, retention and training to area businesses, and assistance to residents with career awareness, work readiness, and searching for jobs.

“We do not have an anticipated percentage for the increase in visitors due to the expiration of extended unemployment benefits,” she said in an email. “However, we do expect an increase in job seekers and JobLink will continue to work with the State in connecting job seekers with employers.”