See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham

IMG 6669 2 See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham
Devin, Jo’Ann, Avery and Rene—members of the team that makes it all happen. (Gabby Gervais / Bham Now)

Community on the Rise is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit that prioritizes people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Birmingham. By providing housing, education, trauma healing and employment, this nonprofit not only helps the community survive, but thrive as well. Read on for more about their work and how you can help.

Empowering the community

IMG 6660 See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham
A glimpse at the beautifully decorated facility. (Gabby Gervais / Bham Now)

Back in 2021, we introduced you to WHOLE (Wellness & Housing Opportunity Linked to Employment), Community on the Rise’s project to reduce waste and advocate for the local homeless community. Now, we’re bringing you an in-depth look at their work.

With people experiencing homelessness, it can be easy to get stuck in a poverty cycle due to lack of housing, education and employment. Community on the Rise helps people experiencing those struggles move forward to an abundant life while building lasting relationships with them along the way.

From hands-on crafting Maker’s Day events to their weekly conversation gathering at Community Table, Community on the Rise works hard to empower the community in unique ways.

“There are hard days and there are hard things that we hear and see… there’s a lot of trauma. But there’s also loads and loads of generosity, gratitude and grace. Seeing that refills my vessel, every single day.”

Avery Rhodes, Executive Director, Community on the Rise

Community on the Rise’s facility on 112 14th St N is full of beautiful and bright decor, providing a homey space for all to walk in, relax and be embraced by a welcoming community.

From books to snacks and extra-comfy couches, the space is perfect for anyone (yes, anyone!) who needs a break from the hot summer sun.

“Getting to be around people who know how to love so well… it is so important for them to give and feel that love. It’s precious because maybe for them, it’s been rare. There’s no feeling like that. To feel bonded to a community like that is my favorite part about my job.”

Avery Rhodes, Executive Director, Community on the Rise

One of the most important things Community on the Rise offers is the ability for people to obtain birth certificates, state IDs and other government documents that are needed to get a job, free of charge. One of their community members just got a job as a lab tech thanks to these live changing services.

100% recycled products

IMG 6645 See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham
Making jewelry from 100% recycled plastic. (PS: her fabulous necklace is a product of Community on the Rise) (Gabby Gervais / Bham Now)

One of the many ways that Community on the Rise empowers people in need and the environment is through their jewelry. Made from 100% recycled number five plastics, each piece gives back to an amazing cause.

IMG 6651 2 See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham
Some of the beautiful jewelry available for purchase. (Gabby Gervais / Bham Now)

Through the WHOLE program, women experiencing homelessness in Birmingham are employed at Community on the Rise, live at a beautifully furnished home rent + utility free and are paid for their time, allowing them to save money for the future while they’re at a safe haven. Along the way, they’re learning tons of different job skills, including leadership, creativity, organization and more.

Devin, one of this year’s WHOLE program members, has been a longtime volunteer at Community on the Rise. When I got to meet her, her go-getter attitude and creative spirit was contagious.

“Seeing all the people who have been able to get their lives together through this program, getting IDs, birth certificates and housing has been my favorite part. I was going through some traumatic stuff when I came into the program, so I really appreciate this place. It’s a haven—a place to feel safe. It truly is a blessing in disguise”

Devin Canada, team member, Community on the Rise

She said her goal in the future is to work with social media and start a business in the transportation field.

From necklaces to power pots, check out some of the stunning recycled products available for purchase.

How you can help

IMG 6654 See how Community on the Rise is empowering people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham
A youth group from First Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC came to Birmingham to learn about Community on the Rise. (Gabby Gervais / Bham Now)

Looking to get involved? There are plenty of ways you can become a part of Community on the Rise.

Attend a Maker’s Day

  • What: Gather together to build relationships learn more about recycled plastics and help make + package products.
  • When: Every Tuesday from 11:30AM-1PM

Attend Community Table

  • What: Take a seat at the Community Table for a diverse conversation full of encouragement, guidance and acceptance. All are welcome.
  • When: Every Tuesday at 10AM

Bring in your number 5 plastics

  • What: Help keep number 5 plastics out of landfills + contribute materials for Community on the Rise’s products.
  • When: Mondays and Tuesdays from 10AM-2PM


What: Community on the Rise has a huge need for volunteers to help people get state IDs, social security cards and more official documents. It does require some training, but it’s worth it to help break down barriers for our community. Contact Avery Rhodes by phone or email for more information.


Each and every donation helps Community on the Rise thrive. You can contribute via PayPal or Venmo @cotrise.

Keep up with Community on the Rise on Facebook, Instagram and on their website.

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Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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