We are committed to housing Charlotte’s most vulnerable population, those experiencing chronic homelessness—those who are most likely to die on the streets. We meet hundreds of people at our College Street campus each day, and our Neighbor Services team works to connect people with the basic services, referrals, and housing assistance they need. But, there are many who never walk through the front gate at Tryon and 13th to ask for help. For those, we began a new strategy about six years ago: Street Outreach.
Ty, Carmen, Allison, Akeem, and Madeline come together for a staff meeting every Tuesday morning, but most of the time you do not see them in the office. They are all over Mecklenburg County helping the 200+ people who are unsheltered in our community, living on our streets, greenways and in other places not meant for human habitation. Our team are regulars at the DMV and social security offices, helping people obtain the necessary documents needed to apply for permanent supportive housing. Last fiscal year, Street Outreach submitted 91 housing applications and housed 72 clients. At the end of February, there were 417 individuals on Charlotte’s chronic homelessness registry, people who were either in shelter or unsheltered, each of whom have a disabling condition and have experienced over one year of homelessness.
The numbers, which were declining since 2015, have started to trend up because of the tight housing market in Charlotte and the lack of affordable housing units for those making 30% and below area median income (AMI). Allison Winston, street outreach director, says, “The system is working. It is taking longer to house people, but if we can get them into a program with a voucher, they are consistently getting housing.”
Specialist Akeem McDuffie points out one of the ways YOU can help. With a team of five, there is no way we can know everyone who needs help. Community referrals have resulted in people getting connected to food stamps, medical care, and housing. You could be the key to getting someone the help they need.
Please continue to be a voice for the poorest of the poor when affordable housing conversations arise and please connect our neighbors to the help they need.
A group of our generous friends, recognizing the urgency of this work and the need for affordable housing with supports, have pledged $100,000 to match $1 for $1 any donations made before May 15 to support these efforts. Donate Now