The Forsyth County Public Library has been awarded a $50,000 Library Services and Technology Act grant for Library Outreach & Innovative Services to partner with the United Way’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. The newly-funded program is designed to improve Library services to homeless individuals and to raise awareness of the issues of homelessness in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community. Through the grant the Library will partner with the United Way to hire a full-time Peer Support Specialist trained to work on-site daily at the Central Library directing the target audience to essential services such as housing assistance, medical services, mental health counseling and financial assistance.
Library staff will provide programs on life skills, job searching, personal finance, reading and book clubs, and personal enrichment. The Computer Training Bridge program will encourage computer training in the 18-seat Computer Learning Center at the Central Library. Library staff will work with the Peer Support Specialist to conduct outreach programs to area nonprofits who work with the homeless.
The Forsyth County Public Library will also offer sensitivity and awareness training on homelessness for Library staff and the public through experts on homelessness. Recognizing that urban public libraries are civic spaces, free and open to everyone, Forsyth County Public Library seeks to be actively engaged in becoming a part of the solution to the community challenge of homelessness. In addition to the United Way’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, the public library is partnering with Anthony’s Plot, the Bethesda Center for the Homeless, Samaritan Ministries, the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem and downtown churches on the project.
The $50,000 LSTA grant is part of a three-year grant project totaling $127,269. This grant is made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.