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Lost Funding Forces Family Shelters To Close Temporarily

Charlotte Family Housing / Google Maps
Charlotte Family Housing is closing the Hawthorne Place shelter for the summer following funding cuts from multiple organizations.

Updated Friday, July 6, 2018
Charlotte Family Housing is closing two of its three homeless shelters for the summer as it copes with a loss of funding from the United Way and other sources. 

The organization houses 25 families at a time in the three shelters — a total of 100 families a year — while helping them find permanent housing, according to new executive director Pedro Perez. 

Pedro Perez
Credit Charlotte Family Housing
Pedro Perez

Because of the funding cuts, the organization last week temporarily closed Elizabeth House and Hawthorne Place. That leaves 15 families at the third shelter, Plaza Place.

"We've had to revamp what we're doing, look very carefully at our expenditures and then move ourselves into a position where we're utilizing our resources very carefully, very intelligently and very strategically," Perez said Thursday.

Perez announced the closings last week in a letter to potential donors, whom he hopes will help make up the shortfall. He said he expects to reopen the shelters in September as more funding comes in. The group also has a grant to renovate the Plaza Place shelter beginning in September.

Last month, the same month Perez started at the organization, the United Way eliminated or reduced funding to several dozen organizations as it shifted its focus to helping neighborhoods. Charlotte Family Housing's allocation was cut 31 percent - from about $400,000 to about $275,000. That's in a budget of about $3.5 million, Perez said.  

Perez also blamed a county budget cut. That figure was not immediately available.

On Friday, a county spokesman said the Community Support Services Department is in the midst of phasing out funding for Charlotte Family Housing.

"Charlotte Family Housing provides transitional Housing, not emergency shelter. The County has prioritized funding of emergency sheltering through Salvation Army and Men’s Shelter of Charlotte," the spokesman said.

The county provided $85,800 last year and will provide $44,000 this year.  Funding will be disappear in fiscal 2020, the spokesman said. 

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.