The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte near uptown re-opens this weekend after four and a half months of renovation.
Behind the renovations was an immediate need to repair failing infrastructure like piping and ductwork. But the shelter’s director, Liz Clasen-Kelly says there was more to it.
“Beyond that, it was about creating a more functional and a more hopeful environment - a place where, instead of feeling like our guests have hit the bottom rung, that this feels like a place where you can start over, where you can bounce back,” says Clasen-Kelly.
That means larger community areas and more privacy, including individual showers and rooms that will fit one or two people. It will also allow the shelter to accommodate 50 more men, for a total capacity of 400.
58-year-old Ricardo Thompson, who relies on the shelter, got a look at the renovations.
“I came here last December, and this is not what it was,” says Thompson.
He said he had no place to go after being released from prison. He’s found a support system at the shelter.
The Men’s Shelter had to raise $5.8 million to fund the project and did with help from the city and individuals.
The fact that so much work went into the renovation and so many people were involved encourages Thompson.
“It kind of motivates me because, yeah, people still care,” he says.
Men will start sleeping at the shelter Saturday. Clasen-Kelly expects it to be almost full Monday.