Family Focus

Affordable housing crisis leaves Charlotte families living in motels

A new poll found about 40% of Americans say they still have money trouble after someone in their home lost a job or income because of the pandemic.

In Charlotte, there is unseen homelessness hiding in hotels and motels.

In many cases, couples and families get crowded into these places after a recent eviction or financial woes that make it difficult to be tenants elsewhere.

Even if they’re working, they are often unable to save for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit for an apartment. To have a roof over their head, many head to hotels that will rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

A motel in west Charlotte is home to about 200 people — many of them children who would otherwise be homeless.

“Oh yeah, we broke (and) that’s why we stay here,” said Alesiah Gordon, a motel resident.

Gordon knows what it’s like to live on the edge of desperation.

Three days a week, she says goodbye to her three young sons and walks to her part-time job.

Her husband works full time. Between them, they can barely scrape together the money to pay rent at the motel.

“I don’t go out shopping and splurging and stuff because I can’t afford it. So all of my money has to be in the bank saved in case of an emergency,” Gordon said.

While Monique Wilson’s 12-year-old was doing his school work in their motel room, she was wondering if the stimulus money will help them break out of the cycle of homelessness.

There are two families, but Traci Canterbury, who manages the motel, has seen plenty more like them who just need a little bit of help to get back on their feet.

“I would give anything to see them rise up to a normal, medium income and be able to afford housing,” Canterbury said.

Charlotte was facing an affordable housing crisis before COVID-19. The situation has only become more challenging for those who lost jobs, had their income reduced or suffered a health crisis due to the pandemic. Many now find themselves on the verge of homelessness.

The need for help in Carolina communities continues to grow because of the financial ramifications of the coronavirus.

To assist our neighbors in need, WSOC-TV is partnering with Crisis Assistance Ministry to help 9 Crisis Help raise funds for those who are struggling amid the economic downturn.

9 Crisis Help’s mission is to give help and hope to people with limited financial resources.

Crisis Assistance Ministry, a resource aiding those in need, recognizes that keeping a family in a home is far less expensive than getting them a new one once they’ve lost it. You can offer timely assistance to families facing eviction due to the pandemic.

Crisis Assistance Ministry provides assistance and advocacy for people in financial crises, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.


If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at