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Homeless Task Force

Recognizing the health and safety challenges for those experiencing homelessness in Salisbury, City Council approved 2021 Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Program (CDBG-CV) funding for an outreach coordinator position to help support the local Homeless Task Force. Formed as a partnership among local service organizations, the Homeless Task Force is a community-wide effort to address the urgent needs of the homeless population in Rowan County. The task force and the outreach coordinator position are facilitated within Rowan Helping Ministries, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to “moving people out of crisis, poverty, hunger, and homelessness.”

“The Homeless Task Force is a tremendous opportunity for our 30-plus agencies to come together using all of our resources to help the underrepresented, sheltered, and unsheltered residents in Rowan County,” said Salisbury Police Homeless Liaison Dennis Rivers. “Through this group, we are able to collaborate, provide direct access to various service agencies, and help people navigate challenging paperwork processes.” According to Kyna Grubb, Rowan Helping Ministries Executive Director, her organization coordinates the Point in Time homeless count each year. “In 2020, the last time a traditional count was conducted, 180 homeless individuals were counted in Rowan County.” Traditional counts were not conducted in 2021 or 2022 due to the pandemic, but a count was done in 2023.

“We returned to our traditional counting with improved information about street homelessness thanks to our street outreach program with Dennis,” Grubb added. “We counted 238 homeless, which included those living in shelters and transitional housing We surmise the increase was due to rent/utility moratoriums, the restart of evictions, increased rental rates, and inflation and combined with increases in poor mental health and substance use.”

“From the police department and city’s perspective, our primary goal is ensuring all residents are sheltered and safe,” said Rivers, “We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with Rowan Helping Ministries and the other agencies as we come together to find solutions for those experiencing homelessness.”

The Homeless Task Force outreach coordinator facilitates the monthly meetings on the fourth Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. The following agencies are involved in the Homeless Task Force Initiative:

  • Rowan-Helping Ministries
  • City of Salisbury/Salisbury Police Department
  • Downtown Salisbury, Inc.
  • Rowan County Health Department
  • Rowan County Dept. of Social Services
  • Rowan-Salisbury School System
  • Rowan County Veterans Services
  • Rowan County Public Library
  • Novant Health Rowan Medical Center (Hospital)
  • W. G. (Bill) Hefner Medical Center (VA Hospital)
  • Community Care Clinic (Treatment Facility)
  • Daymark Recovery Services (Treatment Agency)
  • One Love Services (Treatment Agency)
  • Goodwill Services (Employment Training)
  • North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (Rowan Co.)
  • Rowan County United Way
  • Family Crisis Council
  • S & H Family & Youth Services
  • United Way
  • Jessica Cloward (Private Business)
  • Ralph Young (Private Business)
  • North Carolina Probation & Parole (Rowan Co.)
  • Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church
Rowan Helping Ministries logo

Outreach and Housing Coordinator

(704) 637-6838

Rowan Helping Ministries

SPD Homeless Advocate

The Salisbury Police Department's Homeless Advocate's responsibilities include reaching out to businesses and organizations to build relationships as well as researching what comparable cities are doing to address homelessness. Their goal is to help direct the homeless population to resources, touching on the points of food, shelter, clothing, treatment and employment.

The Homeless Advocate will have direct contact with patrol officers and detectives in the field and the ability to join them on necessary calls. They can also indirectly talk to those who are homeless about available resources through officers.

Homeless Shelters in Salisbury
Dennis Rivers

Homeless Advocate

Dennis Rivers
Office: (704) 638-5342
Mobile: (980) 234-7942


Dennis Rivers is a Philadelphia native who obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Livingstone College in 1997 before spending eight years working in the state’s prison system. He returned to school for a master’s degree in education at University of Phoenix, and worked as the Minority Student Leadership Academy coordinator at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College since 2008

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