Roof Above apartments have opened for tenants experiencing chronic homelessness

According to the organization, 88 individuals will be provided with permanent supportive housing.
With the help of community partners, Roof Above opened SECU Rise on Clanton to help give the homeless a permanent place to live.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte-based organization aiming to end homelessness in the city has opened its newly-renovated apartment complex on Clanton Road, it announced this week.

Roof Above announced that last week, tenants began moving into the building, giving 88 individuals who had been experiencing chronic homelessness, or were without a home for at least one year, a permanent place to live.

Ten of the first tenants to move in were former residents of the North End encampment who were moved to a Mecklenburg County-funded shelter.

Named ‘The Rise on Clanton,’ the facility is Charlotte’s first adaptive reuse, permanent supportive housing solution.

James Ajiboye moved into the complex earlier this week after being homeless for the last eight years.

“I was just praying that something good would come up, and it came up,” he said.

He had a stroke in 2013 and spent 11 months between the hospital and rehab center before moving into a different Roof Above shelter in 2014.

Ajiboye said he lost some function in one of his hands, couldn’t work, and had a growing pile of medical bills. He said he used to pray for the day he would get a permanent home and assumed The Rise on Clanton was another shelter.

“I can’t work I don’t have a job anymore I don’t have any money, nothing,” he said. “When Miss Liz told me she had the place for me, I thought it was like the other ones.”

His doubt disappeared quickly when he learned this was a permanent apartment, a place he could call his own after years of uncertainty.

“I was grateful, I’ve been living in the shelter for eight years and now I’ve got this place beautiful like this, I’ve got the keys, you would be very happy, very very happy,” he said.

The organization said the pandemic offered it an ‘innovative opportunity’ to purchase and convert the underutilized hotel into an affordable living complex, capable of serving some of the community’s most vulnerable residents.

Related: Roof Above to open apartments that will house 88 individuals, including 6 from ‘Tent City’ hotel

Located near the intersection of Clanton Road and Interstate 77, Roof Above purchased the building in December 2020, and used it to serve as an emergency shelter for women and families.

In May 2021, Roof Above began renovating the hotel, creating apartments that include kitchens, as well as space for on-site support services.

While living in the apartments, tenants will have access to case managers, a full-time nurse, a learning lab and community space for supportive activities.

“This opening comes with our deepest appreciation to everyone who accepted the challenge to dream big and meet the moment to make this new apartment community possible,” Roof Above CEO Liz Clasen-Kelly said. “We hold to the vision that everyone is worthy of the safety, stability and dignity of a home. Together, and one life at a time, we end homelessness.”

Roof Above says that tenants will primarily be chosen through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coordinated Entry process, which uses a common assessment to identify the most vulnerable people in need of permanent housing.

For information on the coordinated entry process, click here. You can also call 704-284-9665 and leave a message. A county staff member will call you back Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Each week, six to eight people will move in, to help ensure tenants are fully supported in their transition to the complex.

“We’ve seen people overwhelmed with tears of joy, smiles of glee, we’ve seen people resting really soundly, and so excited to have a door to close and a place to call their own,” Clasen-Kelly said.

Following the opening of The Rise on Clanton, Roof Above now provides nearly 700 supportive housing units within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

The complex also has several resources on-site including a medical exam room through Roof Above’s partnership with Novant Health and Alliance Health.

“It’s not just affordable housing we also have on-site case management, a full-time nurse, a learning lab, and a large community space where we’ll have supportive activities,” Clasen-Kelly said.

Despite the work of Roof Above, there are still more than 400 people in Mecklenburg County experiencing chronic homelessness according to the latest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing and Homelessness Dashboard.

The organization says that typically, tenants pay 30% of their income toward rent plus basic utilities. To learn more about permanent supportive housing options and to review eligibility, click here.

Related: ‘I still have a bright future’: Roof Above provides opportunities, impact on homeless in Charlotte

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