This week’s WCHL Hometown Hero is Corey Root, the Homeless Program Coordinator for the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness. Root has held the position since early 2016, and is instrumental in the ongoing development of a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in Orange County.

“There are high stakes involved here,” said Root. “The length of time someone’s been homeless and whether they’re living sheltered or unsheltered, we use all those three factors to have a prioritized list to try to get folks into housing.”

Root serves as the primary contact when the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough collaborate on initiatives concerning assistance to the homeless population. Her travels and work with Doctors Without Borders prepared her for her current role in helping at-risk people find stable housing.

“When we talk about ending homelessness, what that means is that anyone who is experiencing homelessness, folks that are waiting for housing, they are housed,” said Root. “If someone becomes homeless, then we can get them back into stable permanent housing as quickly as possible.”

Root’s passion for helping others is unique in that she looks to affect change on a systemic level as well as an individual one. Helping a person in need find a place to stay the night is one thing. Helping organize housing solutions for large populations is entirely another.

“They’re not looking for a bed tonight, but we still want to get those folks into permanent housing as quickly as possible,” said Root. “We’ve got kind of an intervention that is very good for people who are chronically homeless. That’s people who have been homeless for a long time, and also have a disability. That’s like our ‘Cadillac of interventions.’ It’s expensive, and called ‘permanent supportive housing.’ It’s meant to permanent for a lot of folks.”

Thank you, Corey Root, for all you do to help everyone in our communities!