Charlotte Churches Begin Boarding Homeless Women To Relieve Shelter Crowding
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte-Mecklenburg's only shelter for women and children is overflowing with families and having to turn many away. The Salvation Army's women and children shelter is hoping help from the faith community will help meet a need that Deronda Metz, the shelter's director said has increased because of tough economic times.
"We're getting entire families that are riding around sleeping in cars because they can no longer afford to pay rent or lost their jobs so they can no longer afford to be in hotel," Metz said. "They have a difficult time even feeding their families."
Alisha Noblett has only been at the shelter since Friday. "I'm just thankful that I don't have to be on streets," she said.
Noblett told Eyewitness News the economy has been pushing her to this point for months. It all started when she had to sell her car. "Cause I had to pay for rent," said Noblett. "I couldn't pay for rent...you can't leave somewhere for free."
Noblett said she finally had to leave the hotel where she was staying and said, even though she looked for a job for months, she still hasn't found work. "Trying to catch the bus with no money and after you're paying for your rent and trying to find a job and go to all these places...There's really like no end to it," she said.
The shelter is housing more than 300 but it only has room to house 200. It's housing 127 children when the average is usually 90 and there are 61 families in the shelter when there are typically only 35.
Metz said the faith community has stepped up. In fact the first church van pulled up Monday to house about a dozen single women. With help from churches, Metz is hopeful they won't have to turn anyone else away. "But last week, we would turn away 50, 60 people a week," she said. "Over the weekend we had to turn away families because we didn't have space." About 20 churches will house women over the next several weeks until the Room in the Inn starts November 1, 2008.