Area shelters hope to help more with Rapid Re-Housing program

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Despite the cold temperatures and area shelters being at-capacity, some families in Charlotte are still managing to find a place to live. It's all thanks to a program Eyewitness News first learned about last year. It's called the Rapid Re-Housing program; it's part of a national strategic plan to end homelessness.

"Our goal is 30 days to get them out of the shelter," said Salvation Army Director of Social Services, Deronda Metz.

Eyewitness News was with Metz after the program launched. Since April, Metz said, they've been able to find housing for 48 families.

Melanie Shirkey has been in and out of the Salvation Army's Center of Hope since 2003. In all, she says she's been homeless for 12 years. Two weeks ago, that changed. Although she wasn't a part of the Rapid Re-Housing program, she got a referral from the Salvation Army to get permanent housing through Urban Ministries.

"They gave me inspiration, they helped me stay grounded. They helped me realize that yeah, there is someone out here who really cares," said Shirkey.

The Salvation Army says it's finding houses for about seven to 10 families per month. Newcomers to the shelter can
only stay for six months, but the goal is to find them a place to live sooner.

"Rapid Re-Housing is the new intervention to end homelessness," said Metz.