RAMP CLT Keeps Grandmother from Returning to Homelessness
Leslie Blaser
Emergency Housing Assistance

​Karen Davis had been living out of her car, but she knew she needed to find a permanent home when she would take her grandson out driving and he would say, “Oh, Memaw, you’re just going to park and go to sleep, aren’t you?”

Ms. Davis is a resilient woman. She has survived an abusive marriage that required emergency surgery in 2010, and her car was hit from behind in a 100-mph accident in 2011. Both events resulted in traumatic brain injuries, but she continued to work her $50,000/year job. In 2015, however, her migraines started and would not stop. After multiple visits to the ER and over 200 seizures, she had difficulty when she returned from medical leave. She ultimately lost her job, and with it, her housing.

From August to December 2018, she was in and out of women’s shelters, and she started living out of her car in January 2019. A company allowed her to park in their lot overnight for safety, and that owner connected her with a real estate agent who helped her find the townhome she moved into this summer.

Ms. Davis found new employment and had been working the entire time while trying to find permanent housing. When COVID-19 hit, however, her epilepsy flared up, and her doctor wrote her out of work in May. She was terrified of losing her home again because she couldn’t work, so she went to several agencies for financial help.

“With this pandemic going on, of course they have to take care of those who are out of their homes, it’s understandable, a lot of people have lost their jobs…It’s just hard when you’re in need as well,” she said. “With me being homeless before, and me being late with my rent…it didn’t look good because I had just moved in… I was crying and scared, I can’t lose this place.”

In August, Ms. Davis applied for rental assistance through the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program, or RAMP CLT, Charlotte’s COVID-19 emergency housing assistance program. The program covered her August and September rent, and offered to help with utilities.

“Being homeless for two years, a lot of people turn their back on you. You’re used to a certain type of lifestyle…You feel invisible, being homeless. People think a certain way, not realizing that you lost your job. You’re not looking for a handout, but you just need help, and RAMP was that help.”

“I felt like somebody, I didn’t feel like just someone asking or begging for money. So many people are in this situation with this pandemic, but I felt that I wasn’t alone knowing I could actually get help from RAMP,” she said.

To date, the City has provided over $6.8M in assistance to nearly 2,600 households as part of this program.

Individuals who earn 80 percent or below the area-median income who face a COVID-19 hardship and cannot make housing payments can apply for rent or mortgage assistance. Those who are applying for mortgage assistance must have been current on their mortgage payments prior to April 2020. For rent assistance, payments are made directly to landlords and property managers, so in order to receive funding, landlords and property managers must register as part of the program.

Financial assistance is also available for long-term hotel guests (30 days or longer) who are experiencing a financial hardship and cannot pay the hotel bill due to COVID-19.

A program representative will work one-on-one with all applicants to determine their eligibility for each of these programs. More information on these programs and applications at rampclt.com. Rampclt.com also provides information and resources for those facing eviction.