Multiple organizations providing resources, cooling areas for homeless population during extreme heat this week

Non profits are doing street outreach to encampments across Mecklenburg County
More than 3,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Mecklenburg County.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 5:41 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As temperatures soar this week, nonprofits and community organizations are continuing their support for the homeless community.

More than 3,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Mecklenburg County.

Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt are the founders of Hope Vibes, Inc. which is a nonprofit dedicated to helping marginalized communities.

“The benefit that most of Charlotte’s citizens have is a place of reprieve from the excruciatingly high temperatures. Our neighbors experiencing homelessness often do not have this privilege. They are more likely to be impacted both physically and mentally as a result of the extreme temperatures,” The Threatts said. “Dehydration alone can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, low blood pressure, extreme fatigue, etc. Imagine already being in survival mode trying to figure out next steps from day to day, with these added challenges.

No matter the season or the weather, organizations here in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are opening their doors and hitting the pavement to deliver items for people to beat the heat.

“The basic service of just keeping as cool as possible has become critically important,” said Randall Hitt the Vice President of Engagement at Roof Above.

Related: Cooling stations opening in Mecklenburg Co. due to record-challenging heat

Roof Above operates a day services center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

The center is located at 945 N. College Street Charlotte, N.C. 28206.

Roof Above is providing outdoor and indoor cooling areas with fans and air conditioning, fresh cold water, lunch, showers, and laundry services.

Laundry and showers are on a first come first serve basis.

“We have more than 40 showers a day. We do 21 loads of laundry, we provide lunch for 200-300 people a day that includes a water bottle. We go through 70 cases of water a week, some people are just sitting indoors because we have reintroduced seating even after COVID,” Hitt said.

There are still thousands of unsheltered people in encampments across the county.

Bethany McDonald is the Executive Director of the Hearts Beat as One Foundation. She says just because people and tents are out of sight - they’re not out of mind.

“It’s really important that we find where people are and we get the ice and the resources and things like that.”

She’s not the only one, Jessica Lefkowitz with Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition is working 8-plus-hour shifts delivering items and information on cooling centers to encampments across Mecklenburg County.

“We are going to be out passing out waters, I have some food, sleeping bags, just trying to get basic items out to people and information about where they can go if they can’t take the heat where they are,” Lefkowitz.

Multiple encampments have been removed from private property in the last year, forcing many people to relocate to less visible areas.

“They’re so scattered and they’re so far away, so it’s hours upon hours of driving from one end of the city to another making sure they have ice, snacks, water, and things that are going to get them through this brutal heat,” McDonald said.

Hearts Beat as One is also collecting batteries, battery-operated fans, water, and nonperishable food. They are also continuing street outreach this week.

“We’re out there just to make sure that they’re surviving this weather,” McDonald said.

If you are interested in donating items to Hearts Beat as One, you can drop them off at their building located at 3520 Dewitt Lane Charlotte, N.C. 28217. They are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm.

Roof Above is also doing outreach at encampments.

“We are going to make sure we get out there bringing water, snack bags, checking on them, because we know for people out there it might be under a tent or under a tree, it’s a lot different of an element than if you’re in a shelter or the day services center,” Hitt said.

Roof Above is collecting bottled water, refillable bottles, towels, washcloths, and laundry detergent. You can donate to the day services center located at 945 N. College Street in Charlotte or visit their website.

Hope Vibes is continuing to operate its mobile “Hope Tank.”

“Hope Vibes continues to provide moments of retreat by way of the Hope Tank which has air-conditioned units. We also provide seasonal supplies to help support our neighbors. In addition to our year-round items, we are collecting and distributing ice boxes, water, cooling towels, sunscreen and bug spray as available,” The Threatts said.

If you are interested in donating to Hope Vibes, click here.

Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition is also collecting bottled water, ice, sleeping bags, tarps, and battery-operated fans.

“It’s important that you have folks like our organization that will go out into these encampments in the outskirts of the city to provide whatever services we can and direct them to services,” Lefkowitz said.

You can visit their website or also deliver items to their office at 8460 University City Blvd Suite A3-113 Charlotte, NC 28213

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