• New program aims to help Charlotte's homeless gain independence

    By: Allison Latos


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There's a new push to get homeless people off Charlotte streets.

    Many of them jump from jails, to shelters to emergency rooms just to find a meal and a roof over their heads.

    Channel 9 learned of a new program aimed at helping them stand on their own two feet.

    "This is specifically to break the institutional cycle or circuit between going from jail to shelter to emergency room," said Stacy Lowry, director of Mecklenburg County Community Support Services.

    Meck FUSE, or frequent users of systems engagement, will search for candidates who have at least four jail visits or four shelter visits over five years.

    It will provide affordable housing with rent and utilities subsidies and help with mental health or drug abuse.

    Caroline Chambre with Urban Ministries is already seeing the success at Moore Place, an apartment for the chronically homeless.

    "Often we see that with folks their substance abuse drastically decreases once they have an apartment and have housing," said Chambre.

    The program aims to save money too.

    Chief Deputy Felicia McAdoo said some of the 2,000 inmates commit crimes for a place to stay.

    She's witnessed the possibility of success.

    Before an accident claimed his life, homeless man William Major, known as Chilly Willy, was turning his life around at Moore Place.

    "To see that transition and to know he had somewhere to be and he didn't have to keep coming to jail, as he was staying away from the place, was awesome," said McAdoo.

    Leaders hope they can create a new trend of independence among Charlotte's homeless.

    The program is set to start in July and will be coordinated out of Moore Place on Lucena Street.

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