Organizations in Charlotte getting creative during pandemic to house homeless this winter

Protecting the homeless from COVID and cold weather

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The pandemic is bringing challenges to the streets, and to the homeless shelters.

At least 45 people tested positive at the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope within the last two weeks.

This is happening at a time when temperatures are dropping, and the need for housing is rising.

“Our normal winter sheltering with Room In the Inn is not happening this year so we don’t have 110 different sites that are able to help individuals nightly, so we had to be creative in how do we fill that gap,” Randall Hitt, with Roof Above (formerly Urban Ministry Center and the Men’s Shelter), said.

Mecklenburg County is working with five hotels currently housing 284 people experiencing homelessness. 800 people have taken advantage of this since March.

“There is a harsh reality that we have to turn people away which is incredibly difficult,” Hitt said.

He said it’s why Roof Above and The Salvation Army are teaming up.

“Starting on Dec. 1, an overnight winter shelter a nightly shelter that will have up to 135 spots for men and we also have a partnership with Center of Hope to expand capacity for women and children,” he said.

It’s an important but temporary solution for a bigger problem.

“We see this as a housing problem not just a homelessness problem,” he said.

Hitt says Roof Above also added measures including separation barriers between beds to be able to raise the capacity at their shelter.

He said fortunately these efforts actually mean they will have more options for the homeless heading into this winter than ever before.

To donate to Roof Above, click here. To donate to The Salvation Army, click here.

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