"Across the Table"
Paul Coates


My name is Paul Coates.  My greatest accomplishment in life is being a husband, father, grandparent, and working at Wesleyan Christian Academy for my real job, and volunteering with the High Point Police Department as a Chaplain as my give- back to our city… I am also a board member of Open Door Ministries.  

Open Door Ministries, a ministry to the homeless community in High Point, has instituted a program called “Rapid ReHousing” that has been found to be highly successful. Here is just one example how this program has helped someone in need...

Cynthia Covington was born in Rockingham in 1962 to loving parents who provided her with everything she needed. She graduated from high school and went on to attend college for a brief while. She was anxious to spread her wings and began spending time in Winston-Salem for a change of scenery. Through many bad choices she began a spiral of abuse, fear, and living in utter poverty that lasted for years. Even though Cynthia wanted to break this cycle, she found herself going from shelter to shelter to survive. She says it’s a scary thing for anyone to have to endure.  She talked about the cold, the rain, the heat, and nowhere to cook. 

Though Cynthia is the proud parent of two children, they have not been able to help her get out of the cycle of poverty and homelessness.  She says she raised them to be the best that they could be, but she did not want to impose on their lives because of the bad choices she had made.  Her daughter assisted her from time to time, but her son lives out of state.

In October of 2017, Cynthia met her case manager, Ms. Tonya, who works at Open Door Ministries as case manager for the Rapid ReHousing program.  She reports this is when she was finally able to get off the roller coaster of being homeless, hungry, jobless, and afraid. By January, 2018, she was faithfully learning a new job and living in an apartment fully furnished by a generous donor. She says that now she has a place to call her own and is working hard to be able to sustain it.  

Despite these successes, there have been barriers to overcome.  Not even two months after moving into her apartment, Cynthia was evicted due to the company she kept; however, Tonya worked with another property manager and helped her find another apartment, avoiding a judgment on her credit.  Another barrier has been the enjoyment of alcohol.   Cynthia promised that she would watch the company that she keeps and minimize her drinking habits, which has helped keep her on the road to success.

Even though the normal pressures of a job and bills are there, Cynthia will tell you that these are nothing compared to the pressures of living in fear of being killed, beaten, left alone in an empty lot, not knowing where to go or if there is anyone in the world that could - much less would - care.

Through tears of gratefulness, Cynthia said, “I’ve been through hell and back and God turned it all around. Last year was the worst year of my life, and this year God has given me back my health, my self-respect, and a hope for the future - all through Ms. Tonya, the Rapid ReHousing program, and Open Door Ministries of High Point.”