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Community Empowerment Fund member takes to Facebook to help give back

Steven Howser is homeless and is helping to coordinate a fundraiser to raise money for other homeless in Chapel Hill.
Steven Howser is homeless and is helping to coordinate a fundraiser to raise money for other homeless in Chapel Hill.

In February 2014, Steven Howser, who is experiencing homelessness in Chapel Hill, reached out to the Community Empowerment Fund for help. 

Now, he's returning the favor by fundraising for CEF. 

CEF is a local nonprofit that helps people who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness in Orange and Durham counties. 

“I understand how hard it is for a lot of people to donate, but CEF helps so many people in the community,” Howser said. “I’m just trying to help them in a way — to give back.”

CEF provides savings programs, financial coaching and other free education programs to its members. 

Cole George, a member of CEF, said he likes the classes that CEF offers on Saturdays. 

“I like the things that CEF has done and stands for,” George said.

The fundraiser is connected to Howser’s Facebook page and has a goal of $1,000. So far, no money has been raised, but Howser is optimistic.

“I don’t expect it to hit overnight, but I’m trying to find a way to get it to pick up,” he said. “I only asked for $1,000, and if I only get half of that, that’s fine.”

Howser said the fundraiser will run for five months -- until his birthday in July.

“If I can get it to hit off, everything that it gets will go straight to CEF,” he said. “I’m trying to help the nonprofit because they’ve helped so many of us, and I’m a homeless person myself.”

Howser has been a member of CEF since he first came to Chapel Hill in February 2014. He is what CEF considers an alumni member, which means he completed a CEF program but still wants to stay involved in the nonprofit. Once he secures housing, he will receive an alumni ambassador certificate. He currently lives in a tent.

“CEF helps a lot of people in the community, not just the homeless," Howser said. "They help people with work, they help people with housing, all that.” 


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