Responding to the tragic deaths of two homeless men who succumbed to hypothermia in Raleigh, NC, thirteen downtown congregations of diverse faiths and denominations formed an organization to address unmet community needs such as hunger. This organization became Urban Ministries of Raleigh, and later, of Wake County.
Urban Ministries opens the Ark Shelter to serve men who are homeless, expanding within a year to serve women as well. The agency also opens the Open Door Clinic for uninsured patients—the earliest free and charitable clinic in North Carolina remaining in operation.
Urban Ministries converts the Ark Shelter to serve women only. Two years later, the shelter is renamed the Helen Wright Center for Women in honor of Sister Helen Wright, Urban Ministries’ first director.
Urban Ministries moves its administration and Crisis Support, Food Pantry, Open Door Clinic programs to a new office on Capital Boulevard, expanding services to include day and evening medical clinics and an on-site pharmacy. The Open Door Clinic remains the only free and charitable clinic in Wake County with an on-site, fully licensed pharmacy.
Dr. Peter Morris, longtime medical director at Wake County Human Services, is named Executive Director, succeeding Anne Burke, who retires after 26 years in the job.
Urban Ministries’ Food Pantry becomes the largest in Wake County to offer client choice, allowing food insecure families to choose their own groceries instead of receiving pre-bagged food. In response to urgent community need, the Helen Wright Center for Women increases beds for emergency overnight shelter and announces plans for expansion.