Nonprofits lay out plan to end homelessness in Charlotte

Goals for the year ahead include preserving naturally occurring affordable housing and buying a hotel for shelter space.

The “A Home For All” plan is an effort led by local nonprofits, with the help of public and private funding, seeking comprehensive solutions for homelessness.  

On Monday, The United Way of Greater Charlotte updated city leaders on the successes it’s already seen and the goals for the year to come. 

Right now, about 3,000 people in Mecklenburg County are experiencing homelessness. 

“It’s a mother who is experiencing homelessness and living in her car,” Kenny Robinson said as an example.
Robinson leads Freedom Fighting Missionaries, one of 100 partners of the A Home For All Plan.  

“Those in the Uptown area who you can clearly see are unsheltered have kind of been pushed out,” Robinson explained. “The need is still there.”

In the current fiscal year, $1 million in taxpayer money has been allocated to incentives for property owners who agree to accept housing vouchers. The goal is to reduce the long waitlist of people looking for an affordable place to live.  

“We are trying to recruit property providers, incentivize them, as a system, as a community,” Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, the CIO of United Way of Greater Charlotte said to city leaders.  

An INLIVIAN report says the waitlist for public housing and vouchers in Mecklenburg County grew from 3,500 households in 2013 to 50,000 in 2022. 

Firmin-Sellers said they hope to add 200 units of voucher-accepting housing in the next year. They also want to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing, called NOAHs. 

“We are losing NOAH units at an alarming rate,” Firmin-Sellers added. 

The mission also hopes to buy a hotel in the city to create an emergency shelter. Housing officials said a property has not been identified yet.

Robinson is excited about the strides being made but said officials need to help them quicken the pace. “On an initiative this big, we had hoped some things would be in place and in order by now,” Robinson said.
United Way is asking the city and county for $26.5 million in the upcoming budget to implement several strategies in the plan. 
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