CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Officials with the Salvation Army unveiled their new space for women and children Wednesday.
Cynthia Whitfield is getting a first look at a brand new space that she'll call home, at least for a little while.
"I am so excited. Thank you Jesus. Wow this is beautiful," Whitfield said. "And I’m just so glad and so thankful just to be here."
Officials at the Salvation Army Center of Hope cut the symbolic ribbon unveiling the new third floor area they call the loft, which includes 64 beds for women and children. It brings the total number of beds in the shelter to 340.
Read past coverage about chronic homelessness:
- Charlotte Family Housing says it’s full, turning away families
- Chronic homelessness drops 36 percent in Charlotte
- Charlotte officials work to reduce homelessness
- Volunteers walk through Charlotte to connect with homeless
- Charlotte launches plan to end homelessness by 2016
The center alone currently sleeps about 350 people a night. Before this expansion, many wound up on mats.
"So this day was really significant for us for the salvation army for homeless," said Deronda Metz, director of Social Services. “Families in our community that needed a place to stay would number one come in and grab a mat, and some days we're even out of mats, but now we can put people in beds."
A public private partnership funded the $1.4 million project including $500,000 portion from the city.
"There wasn't really any problem with this because we're acting again on what we say we're going to do to end chronic homelessness," said Charlotte city council member Vi Lyles.
There are about 4,000 homeless people in Mecklenburg County, and 450 are considered chronically homeless.
For Whitfield the center for hope represents a stepping stone to a new beginning.
"Because it's going to be a blessing to me my mind and everything, get back into my books and my studies until my apartment comes through," Whitfield said. "This is the getting right place right here."
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