BRUNSWICK COUNTY,NC  A frequent question–perhaps the most frequent question–we get when we are out in the community is, how many people are experiencing homelessness here in Brunswick County?

The correct and accurate answer is that we don’t know, because we can’t count everyone, just the people we come into contact with. But this answer lacks something in its satisfaction value, so this article sets out to address some results based on just that–the people we come into contact with.

And come into contact with them we do. Our primary method of interacting with clients at Brunswick County Homeless Coalition is via our toll-free 888-519-5362 information and assistance line. Clients call us and explain their situations, and our volunteers work to find (and, hopefully, fund) a solution that helps them stay in, or move towards, safe, stable, permanent housing.

Because of this, we have records of how many clients literally had no place to sleep at night, and required emergency shelter, which can yield an average number over time (a number that seems to be trending upwards). Keep in mind that this figure doesn’t capture the actual number of people experiencing homelessness–it misses those that we were unable to find a placement for, those who were helped by other agencies (such as Brunswick Partnership for Housing, Brunswick Family Assistance Agency, Brunswick County Streetreach, and others), and, of course, it misses those who had nowhere to stay but did not get in contact with us.

The numbers are as follows: In 2022, of the 885 clients we helped, 110 were placed into emergency shelter directly by BCHC. In 2023, of the 1044 clients we helped, 98 were placed into emergency shelter. So far in 2024 (through the end of April), we’ve placed 78 clients into emergency shelter.

That is, during 2022 and 2023, an average of 8-9 clients per month–and this year, 19 clients per month–experiencing literal homelessness here in Brunswick County. Those are our numbers.

Frequently–especially close to and during tourist season–we (and the other organizations helping with emergency shelter) are paying rack rates at motels, with no special price break. This gets expensive quickly, limiting our ability to help. You can help out by donating to Brunswick County Homeless Coalition–or indeed to any of the many organizations here in Brunswick County who are helping to provide emergency shelter to those who need it most.

Thanks for your interest in this subject, one near and dear to our hearts. For more information, contact Brunswick County Homeless Coalition at 888-519-5362 or

Lack of homeless shelters in Brunswick County leaves many struggling
By Ava Brendgord
Jan. 19, 2024

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Joe Staton moved to Brunswick County back in 2012. But, it was a long road to get here.

“I didn’t have any money; I didn’t have any resources.”

Staton was homeless, living in a shelter. Now, he’s on the opposite end of the spectrum, serving as president of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition.

“At the time when I was homeless, I received a lot of help. So, I just feel grateful for receiving the help and I’m very glad to help pass it forward.”

In Brunswick County, homelessness hasn’t historically been an issue. But, as the population grows, so does the need for a brick-and-mortar shelter.

“It’s very frustrating to come in contact with clients who are in need of shelter and not have somewhere to put them.”

[…] “We’ve been making slow progress and by we I mean everybody in the community.”

Even with the coalition’s resources, he’s concerned it may not be enough to help those in need, but he’s staying optimistic.

“I am very hopeful that soon we’ll have a shelter.”

Story Copyright 2024 WECT. All rights reserved. Read original on WECT website.

In 2023, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition helped a total of 1044 clients through our 1-888-519-5362 information and assistance line. BCHC helped 130 clients with utility assistance, 185 clients with rent, 98 already-homeless clients with emergency shelter, 17 clients with other direct aid, and 747 clients with referrals to other agencies or resources. Our total output on these efforts was about $35,000.  For more information, visit our website at

Brunswick Partnership for Housing opens new space for homeless families
By Reyna Crooms
Jul. 30, 2023

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – A new home just opened up in Brunswick County to help people who don’t have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in each night.

“Homelessness is one of the leading causes of trauma for children. And when trauma hits children at young ages, neuro pathways actually rewire. And so children can’t learn or they develop adaptive mechanisms that aren’t necessarily healthy. So what we really wanted to do was bring those families into a safe environment where they really could just relax, let the chaos and the trauma settle, get back on their feet,” said Sally Learned, executive director of the Brunswick Partnership for Housing.

Helping children hits close to home for Learned. She says the Felton-Russell House is a transitional home for families who fell on hard times.

[…] The house has two, one bedroom and two bedroom units, along with one handicap unit. Each space comes fully stocked with food and other necessities to help support families.

The handicapped unit is made for homeless people just released from the hospital who need post care. People in the handicapped unit are able to stay for up to nine months while rebuilding their lives.

[…] “What we want to do is give folks hope, homelessness to hope that yes, they can get their feet back under them,” said Learned.

Story Copyright 2023 WECT. All rights reserved. Read original on WECT website.

In 2022, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition helped a total of 885 clients through our 1-888-519-5362 information and assistance line. BCHC helped 153 clients with utility assistance, 115 clients with rent, 110 literally homeless clients with emergency shelter, 33 clients with other direct aid, and 546 clients with referrals to other agencies or resources.

News from the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition

For immediate release


Ocean Isle Beach, NC – In recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (November 13-21), the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition (BCHC) will sponsor a no-contact “Soup-to-Go” event on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the Seaside United Methodist Church parking lot from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. located at 1300 Seaside Road, NW, Sunset Beach. This is a drive-through, outdoor event and will be held rain or shine. In addition to home-made soup, bread and cookies will be provided.

BCHC also is celebrating its 10th anniversary serving Brunswick County with homelessness and remediation services. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners honored BCHC with a proclamation on November 1, 2021 and recognized National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in the County.

BCHC is an all-volunteer non-profit organization founded in 2011. Its mission is to serve as an advocate and provide education on issues in Brunswick County and to provide resources for people who are homeless or in need.

The BCHC help-line is: 888-519-5362. The BCHC website is:

PDF Flyer: Soup-to-go 2021 Flyer

At their November 1, 2021 meeting, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners voted to officially proclaim the week of November 13th – 21st, 2021 as “National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Brunswick County. Commissioner Marty Cooke read the official proclamation, then presented it to Joe Staton, board president of the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition. BCHC appreciates the support that the Board of Commissioners has consistently shown.



In recognition of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition invites you to a no-contact, drive-thru “Soup-to-Go”event

Sat., November 21, 2020, 11am to 1:30pm.

BSRI Center, Supply, 101 Stone Chimney Rd., SE, Supply

Offerings: bagged and ready to go soup or chili in a carryout cup with lid, serving of bread, cookie. Napkin and spoon provided.

Suggested donation: $5.00 per bag

Thank you for your support of BCHC’s homelessness prevention and remediation services!

Your tax deductible donations are welcome and appreciated.

BCHC is an all-volunteer non-profit and receives no government funding.

Greetings, BCHC members,

On behalf of the Board, I hope you and your families are safe and well. This has been a trying time for all of us and all the more so for homeless families and individuals in our community.

I want you to know that despite today’s challenges we continue to provide services to those in need via our 1-888-519-5362 toll free number. Below, I have listed some of the ways BCHC is helping.

In the meantime, I want to invite you to our monthly meeting via Zoom. Although we have not met face-to-face since early March, several of us have met in virtual meetings using Zoom. The meetings have lasted less than an hour and have worked out well. The technology is friendly and we encourage your participation.

For the meeting ID and passcode for the August 11th, 2020 6:30pm meeting, please contact any BCHC member.

We look for forward to seeing you on August 11th. Your ideas and feedback are important in propelling us forward.

How BCHC is Helping During the Covid 19 Crisis

BCHC continues to provide:
• Utility assistance
• Rental assistance
• Food and shelter referrals

Although we have had to curtail motel placements at this time, we are helping clients in need of shelter by working with the Continuum of Care via their new coordinated shelter intake hotline, 910 444 8315, which refers clients to an available New Hanover county shelter most appropriate to their needs.

Thank you for your continued support of BCHC and those in need in our community!

With best wishes,

Joe Staton, BCHC Board President

Eighth Hunger & Homeless soup banquet stirs up issues

Article copyright (c) 2019 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.

By Laura Lewis, Reporter
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

CALABASH —A roomful of officials and volunteers turned out during Saturday’s cold, blustery weather to talk about hunger and homelessness in Brunswick County and what needs to be done about it.

Betsy Duarte, direct aid committee leader for the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, which orchestrates the annual gathering, outlined a fact sheet at the Nov. 16 gathering showing in 2017 in Brunswick County, 11.5 percent of residents had an income below the poverty level, a decrease from 14.3 percent in 2016, and 17.4 percent of children under 18 live in poverty, a decrease from 19.3 percent in 2016. Four percent of people 65 and older live in poverty, down from 8.7 percent the prior year.


Paul Witmer of BCHC, representing local American Legion posts (L)
and Charles Jackson, Director of Operations and Outreach for
Brunswick Family Assistance address the Eighth Annual Hunger and
Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon in Calabash on Nov. 16th on
the topic of Veteran services. Photo Credit: J. Johnson, BCHC.

Government officials

Brunswick County Commissioner Randy Thompson spoke about the Brunswick Guarantee offering every student an opportunity to receive at least two years of education free of charge “so they never experience some of the things y’all are having to deal with today.”

“The more we educate the community, it makes all the difference,” he said[, pointing] out a growing amount of affordable housing complexes going up or in the planning stage. “That’s something we need to continue to concentrate on,” said Thompson, who also read a proclamation designating the week of Nov. 16-24 as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

N.C. Rep. Frank Iler said he supports affordable housing.

“The bad news is the budget has been vetoed,” he said, lauding affordable housing efforts off N.C. 904 and a similar public-private partnership that is to be duplicated in Calabash.

Pat Rourke, director of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education for Brunswick County Schools, said “some people just don’t believe that we have a homeless problem,” citing growing numbers to show otherwise. In the 2018-19 school year, 432 students, plus 25 siblings, were identified under the MV program compared to 355 and 38 in 2017-18. “Don’t think that our numbers are not going to climb this year,” she said, adding there is another peak after Christmas when families may have spent more money than they could afford and are evicted when they can’t pay the rent.

‘Making generosity count’

BFA executive director Stephanie Bowen, speaking on the theme of “making generosity count,” said there has been a surge of displacement and food insecurity since the hurricanes.


Thank you for reading this excerpt from the Brunswick Beacon. Read the entire article at the following link: Eighth Hunger & Homeless soup banquet stirs up issues

Laura Lewis is assistant editor for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or

Article copyright (c) 2019 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.