CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - When you drive along North College Street in the northern part of uptown Charlotte, you’ll see what’s known as “Tent City”. The rows of tents are where some of Charlotte’s homeless live and call home.
Some of them are afraid they’ll be kicked out soon but as far as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are concerned, there is no plan to move them.
Some of the tents are on private property, and the department says some business owners have recently stopped asking people to move their tents.
“Some are very caring and compassionate, loving and sharing and others are very judgy and hateful,” said Angelique Diaz-Landry.
Diaz-Landry wants to be seen as a person, not a problem. She says she’s lived in Tent City for a few months.
The house she lived in before had a big issue with black mold. She couldn’t afford to go anywhere else and now, she’s on the street.
“Supposedly the shelters are full and so people can’t go to the shelters,” said Diaz-Landry.
According to her, more tents keep popping up as a result of the job loss related to COVID-19.
“They’re not able to keep employment, get employment, or even stay with someone.”
She says the fear of being kicked out tent city started to grow right around the time that a police tower went up at the corner of East 12th and North College Street. Angelique says as far as she knows, police haven’t tried moving people away.
Once she realized that, she says a police presence made her feel better knowing someone was watching her back. She also understands why some others didn’t like police moving in because of the lack of trust that exists.
“It’s just that oversight and not being able to relax,” Diaz-Landry.
Police sent WBTV’s Bria Bell a statement that read CMPD, “has not and will not initiate any enforcement action regarding the removal assistance of homeless tent encampments on private property unless a property owner generates a trespassing complaint.”
If anything, Diaz-Landry says the real threat to tent city is when garbage men mistake tents and other belongings for trash.
Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted Monday afternoon there would be a press conference Tuesday morning on expanding the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program.
Those tweets have since been deleted. The city says there are plans to reschedule.