CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 18, 2021) – Like many stakeholders, the City of Charlotte was given little notice of the County’s abatement order. On Wednesday, we committed to supporting the County and were asked to help by providing transportation. We had committed to providing busses to help transport the residents of the encampment to hotels and shelters. The County was aware of that commitment on Wednesday and we were discussing with them the logistics and their needs. As of Wednesday night, we were trying to determine how to best meet the transportation needs and the County informed us they no longer needed our support for transportation. We never said we would not support the County but were asking for critical details to understand the scope of their need and the County was unable to provide those details and it was the County who withdrew their request for busses. The City never refused to help and we did not back away from our commitment to provide transportation.
We have asked the County how they intend to address people who refuse to leave the encampments and they have yet to provide any solution to that outside of asking law enforcement to physically remove those individuals. The people in the encampments are not criminals and we do not believe they should be treated as such. CMPD is working with community and advocacy groups to identify other resources for people who remain on the site after 5 p.m. Friday.
This is a serious issue and one we have been working on with the County. To be clear, Mecklenburg County is the lead agency for homeless and social services in our community. Since 2018, the City has provided more than $35 million to support efforts to end and prevent homelessness.
Since the County issued its abatement order on Tuesday, the City has been working to determine how to best satisfy the abatement order, while also respecting the people impacted. As a property owner, we have committed to the County that we will clean the site once they have relocated the individuals, as the County committed to doing.
We have and will continue to work with the County and other stakeholders to address this difficult issue.
Below are some recent actions taken by the City of Charlotte to address the homelessness in our community:
Overall, since 2018, the City has provided $35,876,719 to support efforts to end and prevent homelessness.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, the City seeded $1 million to the COVID-19 Response Fund administered by United Way and Foundation for the Carolinas. This helped to successfully raise over $16 million in community funds to provide assistance to residents during the pandemic, including assisting with shelter and housing needs.
In April 2020, the City provided $1,388,000 for 120 extended-stay rooms and prepared food for individuals and households experiencing homelessness, as well as $1,225,000 for security, utility and first month’s rent deposits to help individuals and families that are transitioning out of homelessness find permanent housing. The City also provided $2,228,000 to establish a rent and mortgage relief program to help people at risk of homelessness avoid evictions and foreclosures. This support includes helping households residing in hotels pay their rent.
Also, in April 2020, the City awarded $800,000 to the Statesville Avenue Shelter to expand its facility.
In June 2020, the City approved another $2 million to Roof Above to provide additional supportive housing through their acquisition of a hotel in order to prevent homelessness associated with the pandemic, and to further achieve the recommended six feet of social distancing in homeless shelters. At the same time, we provided another $8 million for rent and mortgage relief to help keep people in their homes, including those residing in hotels.
In August 2020, the City approved the recommendation of the Housing Task Force to provide $3.4 million for rapid rehousing and supportive services to serve individuals and families experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, and individuals and families unstably housed in hotels. These City funds leveraged $1,020,000 recommended by Mecklenburg County Continuum of Care.
In October 2020, the City approved $500,000 to help the Salvation Army Center of Hope expand their facility to help house additional women and children. We also approved $3,500,000 for utility assistance and an additional $6,000,000 for rent and mortgage relief to help keep people at risk of homelessness in their homes.