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Strategy released for eliminating homelessness in Mecklenburg County

It took nearly a year to create the framework and WBTV got an advanced look at it.
It took nearly a year to create the framework and WBTV got an advance look at it.
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:14 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:36 AM EST
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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - On the day organizations band together to get a sense of how many people are homeless in the community, Mecklenburg County is releasing its strategy to eliminate it.

It took nearly a year to create the framework and WBTV got an advance look at it.

It’s a strategy that brings together the public, private and non-profit to tackle the problem. In fact, this initiative involved more than 250 people from 115 organizations.

There are recommendations in nine different areas, from affordable housing to funding and how to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Related: Report: COVID-19 pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ homelessness, housing instability in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County

In each of those categories are recommendations.

The group wants to address historical inequities - basically barriers - to equal housing for minorities.

There are recommendations in nine different areas, from affordable housing to funding and how to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

They want to expand access and the availability of affordable housing and shelters, as well as support services.

Additionally, they also want to coordinate across agencies so it’s easier for people to get the help they need without having to navigate a maze of different organizations or county departments.

Finally, they’ll look at how to sustain this long term through policies, infrastructure and oversight.

This is only the first step and serves as a framework for the work to come. The group wants to get some feedback on the initiative.

Part two will contain the action plan and include how they plan to pay for it.

The strategy was released on the same day the Point In Time Count takes place. This is when organizations try to get an accurate count of how many people are homeless in Mecklenburg County.

This is when organizations try to get an accurate count of how many people are homeless in Mecklenburg County.

Members of a non-profit called The Relatives said this year’s count is putting a big focus on youth who are homeless. The group’s Youth Action Board, made up of 18 to 24-year-olds, many of who have experienced homelessness first hand, will instead visit places they know homeless peers often stay.

They say these are people who aren’t staying out in tents, but instead are couch-surfing or staying with family members temporarily. Still, they don’t have a true place to call home.

The organization still plans to count older homeless people as well. They’ll rely on several organizations to help accurately count those in shelters, transitional housing and on the streets.

Last year’s count found just under 2,000 people experiencing homelessness. Approximately 86% of those were in shelters, transitional housing or safe haven locations. Roughly 14% were living on the streets.

The county is required to do the count each year in order to get federal money.

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