Grassroots organizations continue support for Tent City residents after encampment cleared

Hearts Beat as One Foundation is working with Mecklenburg County and other grassroots...
Hearts Beat as One Foundation is working with Mecklenburg County and other grassroots organizations to help the homeless population.(WBTV)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 5:20 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s been almost two weeks since over 200 people moved into a hotel, leaving behind the remnants of the homeless encampment of Tent City.

Mecklenburg County leaders said the health and safety conditions at the homeless encampment known as Tent City were dangerous and residents had to be moved out to address a growing rat infestation.

Since then, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio says they’ve already had some people relocate more people to permanent homes.

“We are in the process trying to get people housed, so we’ve already had a few people who we’ve successfully been able to house,” Diorio said. “We’re not waiting 90 days, so if we can get them housed between now and then, we’re definitely doing that.”

The county is working with multiple organizations including Hearts Beat as One, Just Do It Movement, Hearts for the Invisible, and Block Love Charlotte.

“The last two weeks have been a really long year,” said Bethany McDonald with Hearts Beat as One Foundation.

Of course, there are many other non-profits and other organizations that are working to help the homeless population from Tent City and other areas of Mecklenburg County.

Bethany McDonald with Hearts Beat as One and her staff have been spending countless hours with the former Tent City residents at their hotels.

“We are in and out during the day every day and on weekends we staff 24 hours,” McDonald said.

McDonald says it doesn’t just stop at food shelter - they’re also delivering clothes, journals, and toiletries.

She said she hopes to also provide some fun activities too for the people at the hotel including a movie night and live music.

The county is also offering mental health and substance use support.

With the help of other organizations, McDonald says they’re taking a collaborative approach to help others who aren’t at the hotels and who still need resources. She says that people in smaller encampments still need help too.

“They’re just as important as everyone else just because they weren’t in the public eye as much,” McDonald said.

McDonald said she hopes this time period can be used as a time to develop more permanent solutions to help the homeless.

“We’ve got to use this as a learning experience and use this as a way to develop something that does become a long-term, sustainable solution,” McDonald said.

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