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New Men’s Shelter In Charlotte Offers Services And Privacy

Sleeping space in the new shelter offers some privacy for residents.
Roof Above
Sleeping space in the new shelter offers some privacy for residents.

A new homeless shelter for men opened on Wednesday in Charlotte. The Howard Levine Men’s Shelter will house men who have been living in an emergency motel-based shelter during the pandemic.

The new shelter has a kitchen, washers and dryers and offices where guests can receive help finding a job. Residents will live in spaces partitioned off like large cubicles with bunk beds and a locker that give them some amount of privacy.

Roof Above CEO Liz Clasen-Kelly says when the men were living in the motel, it kept them safe from COVID-19 but the isolation was difficult. In the new place, they’ll live in what she calls “pods,” giving residents a blend of community and privacy.

“There’s pods, but the pods are open so we have high visibility in terms of staff members, which can support safety,” said Clasen-Kelly. “But also you have a little bit of your own space.”

Some residents stay in a shelter for a night while others stay for months, she said.

Clasen-Kelly says 65% of residents are fully vaccinated and weekly testing will be required of unvaccinated residents.

There are 164 beds in the new shelter, down from the original plan of 196. Clasen-Kelly says they changed the design of the $4.8 million shelter during the pandemic to accommodate social distancing, reducing the number of beds.

Roof Above also operates a shelter at 1210 North Tryon St. that has about 200 beds and offers health care and laundry service.

The organization will use the 116 beds in the Lucille Giles Center as an emergency overnight shelter. Clasen-Kelly says they are using federal COVID-19 relief funds to keep it open through March 2022.

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Catherine Welch is Assistant News Director at WFAE. She has led newsrooms at KUNC in Greely, CO, Rhode Island Public Radio in Providence, RI and WHQR in Wilmington, NC.