Our Beginnings


The Community Shelter of Union County was operated by Crisis Assistance from 1985 to 1994 as a winter shelter with maximum capacity of 15 male clients. A 1992 study of homelessness in Union County indicated the number of homeless was increasing. The need for comprehensive services to assist those individuals and families was evident.

The Union County Council on Homeless Prevention formed in 1994, became a United Way Agency and expanded the months of operation. The meal program was added in 1995, and plans to expand to include women and families were developed.

Renovations were completed in October 1998 through the joint efforts of the City of Monroe, the faith community and the private sector. The Community Shelter currently accommodates single men, women and families onsite. We provide three nutritious meals a day, 365 days a year through our onsite soup kitchen. Last fiscal year, we served more than 52,000 meals in our dining hall.

To further enhance services, the Board of Directors made the following changes in 2000:

In 2011, the board further defined our vision statement as “To help individuals or families achieve self-sufficiency and eliminate homelessness in our community.”  The mission statement was enhanced “to improve the quality of life in our community by providing shelter, food, clothing, guidance and love to those in need” while upholding the core values:

From 2012-present, the Community Shelter stresses a Housing First approach to ending homelessness in our community. Individuals and families may participate in case management planning to stabilize their health, income and any obstacles that impede permanent housing.

In 2014, the board approved a new mission statement with the vision to End Homelessness and Hunger in our Community.  “The Community Shelter of Union County provides food, emergency shelter and instruction to those individuals and families in need within our community.  We promote a pathway to self-sufficiency which includes income stabilization and permanent housing.”

In 2018 at the 25th Anniversary, the Union County Community Shelter changed their name to the Community Shelter of Union County. The name was adjusted to emphasize the three program lines of service – emergency shelter, food and rehousing.

In 2019, the Community Shelter moved into a new two-building campus to continue serving our neighbors in a larger space designed for the needs of our clients and staff.

In 2020, the Community Shelter began a mobile, contactless food pantry.  The effort began to get food quickly in the community to offset the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. By November 2021, the Shelter and its partners distributed 1 million pounds through this service.

In 2022, the Community Shelter opened an onsite warehouse that will provide a campus drop-off and storage for donated furniture that we use to restart households. The building, which was part of the new campus plan in 2019, also expanded cold storage to allow the Shelter to receive more perishable in-kind food donations.

© 2022 Union County Community Shelter | 160 Meadow Street, Monroe, NC 28110 | (704) 289-5300