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Temporary Closure Of Shelter Uptown Displaces Local Homeless

A rendering of the renovated Men's Shelter of Charlotte on North Tryon Street.
Men's Shelter of Charlotte
A rendering of the renovated Men's Shelter of Charlotte on North Tryon Street.
Credit Men's Shelter of Charlotte
Rendering of the updated Men's Shelter on North Tryon Street.

The last people at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte on North Tryon Street left the building Tuesday so long-sought renovations could begin, starting a four-month period in which homeless men will have to seek other out other shelter locations across the city.

The converted warehouse at Men's Shelter on North Tryon has been serving homeless people in the area since 1985 and is in need of an upgrade, according to the officials who run the shelter. But the temporary closure coincides with the end of another seasonal housing program, so more homeless people are trying to find a place to go.

Liz Clasen-Kelly, the director of the shelter, said people are being moved to two other locations - one of them being the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte on Statesville Avenue - while renovations are underway. Combined, the two other locations can accommodate 350 people – the North Tryon location had space for up to 200.  

Clasen-Kelly said she’s still working out logistics of housing everyone and acknowledged that the Statesville Avenue location is now more crowded. She said she understands this change can be upsetting for people who rely on these shelters.

“The basics of the shelter become a piece of stability in your life," Clasen-Kelly said. "We’ve uprooted that again. In the long run, we know its best because the Tryon shelter just had to be renovated.”

The roof, pipes and air condition system at the North Tryon location are being repaired. The updated shelter will also have sleeping pods, shower stalls and windows installed. The project will cost $5.7 million and is being funded by a combination of state and city money, along with private donations.

Stan Gilmore, 51, stayed at the North Tryon shelter. He said he doesn’t want to go to the other location, on Statesville Avenue, which is about four miles north of the Uptown location. He said while it’s warm, he’ll choose to stay on the streets.

The shelter is expected to be closed through July.