Today we announced a $1 million grant from the Lowe’s Foundation to support Roof Above’s work to end Charlotte homelessness. The previously announced plan will convert a hotel to 88 studio units as an affordable housing option for those experiencing chronic homelessness – individuals with a disabling condition who have experienced homelessness for at least a year, or repeatedly. Construction is underway and the project is anticipated to be complete by early 2022.
The timing of this project is critical as the community grapples with the eviction moratorium and a lack of affordable housing. Currently, Charlotte-Mecklenburg has a gap of 23,060 affordable rental units for households with incomes at or below 30% of Area Medium Income, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing and Homelessness Dashboard. Additionally, as of June 30, 2021, there are more than 3,135 individuals experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg county; more than 515 of those are experiencing chronic homelessness.
First announced in December, we closed a deal to buy a hotel at the intersection of Clanton Road and Interstate 77. The 88-unit hotel served an immediate need this winter as an emergency shelter for women and families through a partnership with Salvation Army Center of Hope, and renovations are underway to transform the hotel into permanent supportive housing for individuals who are chronically homeless. The total project cost is estimated to be $12 million, inclusive of the purchase price, renovation of the existing building, and construction of a support service wing addition.
Each existing hotel room will be renovated into a studio apartment with a kitchen. In addition to Lowe’s $1 million philanthropic contributions to the project, the company also provided the new appliances for each unit at a discounted rate. The support services wing addition will provide space for robust services to help a vulnerable population be successful in housing, including case management and health care support. Tenants will pay a third of their income toward rent. By converting existing space, the project can happen quicker and for less money than new construction.
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our hometown of Charlotte through partnerships with organizations like Roof Above that are making a tremendous difference in improving safe and affordable housing in our area,” said Janice Dupré, Lowe’s executive vice president of human resources and Lowe’s Foundation chair. “With the grant, Roof Above will provide a safe, more permanent place to live and offer stability for some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
The new project is a replication of our Moore Place site, a 120-unit apartment community off Graham St., which follows the evidence-based practice called Housing First. Housing First recognizes the fundamental need of housing for all people, regardless of barriers, and believes that providing the stability of housing first, and then surrounding tenants with appropriate supports, is the best way to help people work towards personal goals and improve quality of life.
“At Roof Above we believe that by virtue of being human you deserve the dignity of housing,” said Roof Above CEO, Liz Clasen-Kelly. “We are grateful for Lowe’s investment in our mission which goes deeper than this generous gift. Lowe’s has been a committed partner throughout the pandemic, supplying critical COVID PPE and donating appliances to Roof Above to outfit unused college dorms that were used for temporary shelter.”
The hotel conversion is being led by JE Dunn Construction with architecture by Axiom Architecture and interior design by ODA.