Wingate students join to help families housed in motels

Unseen homelessness hiding in hotels and motels

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 which will rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Getting help from charities is a way to help motel dwellers break the cycle of what seems to be a no-win living situation.

A revolving group of college students has been a source of giving opportunity, kindness and service to families in need.

Each month, these extraordinary students join a collaboration of organizations to supply clothing, food, reading materials and social service resources to the residents of a motel in the Hidden Valley community in Charlotte.

“We want to do our part to try and improve lives and strengthen our community,” said Veronica Washington, community engagement coordinator for Northside Baptist Church.

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Members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity from Wingate University were some of the smiling faces welcoming motel residents.

This neighborhood collaboration with Northside Baptist Church originally began to help students identified under the McKinney-Vento Act.

McKinney-Vento is a federal law that makes sure children and youth who do not have permanent housing can go to school and preschool.

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The stress, uncertainty and feelings of shame are crushing, and affect families’ mental health and physical wellbeing.

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for our communities across the country, but this partnership is easing the burden for some students and families.

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