After moving to Charlotte from Los Angeles last year, Moore Place Director Tom Wukawitz was pleasantly surprised to see the way our community has come together to solve homelessness.
The scope of the problem is admittedly much larger in Los Angeles County, where approximately 60,000 people are experiencing homelessness. Still, he’s encouraged by the public-private partnerships he sees in Mecklenburg County. For example, the social workers who provide case management at Moore Place are county employees.
“It feels like there is a community-driven attempt at answering the problem,” he says. “Here it feels like people are really partnering together to make a difference.” But from his perspective, there are also ways that North Carolina could learn from California, which has much more robust supportive services. “Many of our tenants would benefit from having someone come in and help them to clean, cook and do laundry,” he says. “In California, sometimes even a family member can be compensated to help take care of you.” And California’s Medi-Cal program provides universal health insurance, while he sees many Moore Place residents who don’t have the coverage to get the help they need.
One common issue is that of an aging population. “We have several tenants at Moore Place who are experiencing age-related health issues,” he says. But the next step for many of those individuals is often unclear, as there are limited options for a higher level of care.
Still, Tom is glad he and his partner made the move across the country. “The team here is amazing. The tenants are incredible people,” he says. “It’s the perfect fit.”