Men's Shelter of Charlotte temporary closing for renovations

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Changes are coming to the Men's Shelter on North Tryon Street in Charlotte.

Homeless advocates say they're about to start a $5M renovation project to make critical repairs and improve the shelter.

"When you become homeless, I hear people tell me they feel like they've hit rock bottom" said Liz Clasen-Kelly, Executive Director of the Men's Shelter. "What this transformation is about is when folks who walk on this property they'll believe not that they've hit bottom but this is where their new road begins."

Currently, 200 men can stay at the shelter. Homeless advocates say when the renovations are complete, there will be a slightly higher capacity of 230.

Wednesday morning, people from across the community gathered to celebrate the project which is scheduled to start April 4.

Shelter officials say the building as it is now won't be the case come August when the project is completed.

Artist renderings show the vision to update paint colors, lifting ceiling, put in new flooring. The shelter is also adding green space, natural light and trees to give the place a sense of hope.

Critical repairs to the HVAC system and piping will also take place.

"I'm really excited. They need the renovations and I think it's going to give a jolt of optimism to the Men's Shelter, the residents – the guys who are here and to this community," said Commissioner Pat Cotham. "I think it will be wonderful and they need to know the community cares about them. That's only going to give them inspiration to keep going with their lives."

The clients will be at the shelter for another week and a half and then they're moving. Advocates say the building will close during renovations but officials say they're not closing their services.

Officials say an off site temporary location will be opened and clients will be able to stay there.

Shelter officials say they're not publicly disclosing the locations.

Some people are concerned that homeless residents will drift into the woods and build camps.

Community officers in the North Tryon Street area have been checking for homeless camps - and warning homeless residents that they'll have to clear out.
Police say the camps are on private property and cause sanitation issues.
Some are worried that if the homeless camps are still around when the shelter closes, more homeless residents will join in.

Clasen-Kelly doesn't believe that will be the case.

"No," she said. "We're still offering indoor shelter during this time of transition."

"I will be paying attention to that to see if there's anything the county can do to help with that but it does concern me but overall the long term. We have to have short term goals. We have long term goals but I think this is going to be great" Commissioner Cotham said.

For the crowd that gathered for the announcement of the renovations... a new day for the Men's Shelter is almost here.

"I'm excited that the community has come together investing in the dignity and opportunity of our men" said Clasen-Kelly.

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