County works to help Tent City residents living in hotel find jobs, permanent housing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly three weeks after the county forced the North End encampment to close near uptown Charlotte, the woman who helped execute the directive said they are making progress.

“There are people at the encampment that were working before and now at least have a place to shower everyday before they leave for work,” said Karen Pelletier with Mecklenburg County’s Community Support Services.

Pelletier updated commissioners at their meeting Monday night. Of the 214 people who opted to stay at the county-funded hotel, 191 are still there. At least 9 have been asked to leave due to alleged criminal activity and 2 are now in emergency shelter.

Others have left for various reasons.

Pelletier said it can be difficult for people who have been sleeping on the streets to transition.

“Yes, there are people struggling with that adjustment piece but the vast majority of people are truly seeing this as an opportunity to move forward,” she said.

Pelletier credits groups such as Block Love CLT and Invisible Hearts in helping these people get that opportunity with community support.

At the same time, other organizations like Charlotte Works are helping them build resumes and apply for jobs.

There is still a lot of work to do. The big goal is to create more affordable housing.

“We still have hundreds of people on our streets that need help. These hotels are only a next step in a journey to housing,’ Pelletier said.

County leaders are optimistic organizations that helped while tent city was up will refocus their outreach to offer services to help provide mental or substance abuse resources.