New report highlights Mecklenburg County housing instability

In 2023, there were nearly 3,000 people in Mecklenburg County experiencing homelessness, an 11% increase from 2022.

A new report is putting the spotlight on housing and homelessness in Mecklenburg County. 

The 2023 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability and Homelessness Report paints a picture of the current trends to help city and county leaders make informed policy and practice decisions. 

The report shows rent, evictions, and the number of people who are homeless all increased in 2023 compared to the previous year. 

Mecklenburg County leaders are trying to address the problem, stating that they continue to invest in homeless prevention to help people stay off the streets.

“It is disheartening on some level to know even with how hard we’re working and how deep our investments are, people are still entering our system,” Karen Pelletier, Director of Community Support Services’ Housing Innovation and Stabilization Services division for Mecklenburg County, said. 

In 2023, evictions increased to more than 20,000 resulting in nearly 7,000 additional Mecklenburg households losing their homes, compared to 2022, when more than 13,000 evictions were granted.

Pelletier says the driving factor continues to be rising rent. 

“As rents continue to increase and outpace wages, we know the number of people entering our homeless system is only going to rise,” Pelletier said. 

In 2023, there were nearly 3,000 people in Mecklenburg County experiencing homelessness, an 11% increase from 2022.

The average length of people staying in shelters is also up to 135 days, which is 9 days longer than before. 

But there are some positive takeaways from the report. 

The number of available long-term subsidies has increased, like emergency housing vouchers. The total percentage of people who returned to homelessness decreased in 2023. Also, there’s more affordable housing available for low-income renters. 

Still, Pelletier said people are struggling to afford their homes. 

She said to solve these problems the county believes rental subsidies and creating more affordable housing are solutions. 

Mecklenburg County efforts include turning hotels into housing, preserving affordable units, and creating housing opportunities for veterans and those transitioning from foster care. 

“We really think about making a system change and housing is the start of that system change,” Pelletier said.  

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