Former Charlotte Tent City Residents Will Move Into New Hotels, Mecklenburg County Says
At least 75 former residents of the Charlotte homeless encampment that was once known as Tent City will get new homes this week.
The former residents have been living in two hotels paid for the county, where they've been receiving three meals a day, laundry services and access to case workers and mental health and substance abuse resources.
Many have been living at the hotels since February, when their homeless camp near uptown Charlotte was dismantled over health officials' concerns about a rodent infestation.
Mecklenburg County's contract with the two hotels ends Sept. 30.
However, Karen Pelletier with Mecklenburg County's Homeless Services Division said those who are still living at the hotels will not be sent back to the streets. Instead, three local nonprofits will move the residents into new hotels and continue to help them find jobs, permanent housing and mental health or substance abuse treatment.
Catholic Charities will house 30 of the former residents, Roof Above will house 25 and Block Love Charlotte will house 20. All three nonprofits will continue to provide the former encampment residents with regular meals and access to caseworkers.
Pelletier said the county will reimburse the agencies for the hotel rooms and meals, and the county will then seek reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Originally, 214 people moved into the hotels paid for by the county in February. Pelletier said 37 of them have since moved into permanent homes. Of those, 32 are renting units with housing vouchers, three have moved in with family or friends and two others are renting apartments at market rate.
Pelletier also said six other former encampment residents have moved into short-term housing through the county's criminal justice transitional housing program, 20 have moved to other homeless shelters, 51 either left the hotels or were asked to leave due to unsafe activity and 13 others were arrested and taken to the county jail. Four former residents have died, and eight are unaccounted for, Pelletier said.
That leaves the 75 people who were still living at the hotels as of last week. Pelletier said about 60 them have been approved for housing vouchers and are ready to move into permanent homes, but the county is struggling to find landlords who will accept them. She said that made it imperative that the county find a new place to house the residents as they await available units.
"The county definitely did not want people having to return to the streets while waiting on housing," Pelletier said. "We wanted to keep people still safely inside, and so we're going to continue to help support, just at a different level."
The county is offering a $500 incentive for any landlord willing to take the residents in, and a $1,000 incentive for any landlord who takes a resident in and whose unit passes inspection on its first attempt.
Interested landlords should contact Mecklenburg County's Homeless Services Division.