Mecklenburg County offers supportive housing to combat homelessness

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) is looking for help running a county-owned facility to house adults experiencing homelessness.

The facility is an 80-unit former hotel. It will give support to homeless people who are 55 or older and experiencing medical conditions, with “additional consideration for those who may be connected to the criminal justice system.”

Mecklenburg County issued a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for a nonprofit organization to run the site. The organization would also be in charge of services for the residents, such as case management, nursing care oversight, substance abuse intervention and job training.

The full RFP application and more information are available here. The RFP includes details of a required meeting for possible providers on April 13. The deadline for proposals is May 6 with selection made by May 27.

Mecklenburg County has experienced an increase in adults experiencing homelessness with medical conditions. About 70 residents in January 2022 were newly homeless, part of the nearly 3,000 in Mecklenburg County.

“Many of these residents are ill and need more help than they can receive in a shelter,” said Karen Pelletier, Director of Housing Innovation, Strategy and Alignment. “Some need kidney dialysis; others are suffering from cancer and require treatment. Living outside adds trauma that makes their conditions even more difficult to cope with and less likely to be successfully treated. Supportive housing can help them navigate these hurdles, possibly even reconnect with family, and eventually settle into stable, affordable homes.”

The increase in homeless adults aligns with an increased demand in affordable senior housing, according to the Age Friendly Mecklenburg action plan. Supportive housing is an alternative to assisted living and nursing homes. Studies have shown that it helps resolve homelessness, increase housing stability, and improve the health of residents. It also lowers public costs by reducing use of shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers, jails, etc.

The expansion of affordable and supportive housing aligns with the recommendation from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing and Homelessness Strategy. Outlined in the recently released A Home for All Strategic Framework, the recommendations encompass solutions related to prevention, shelter, and affordable housing—all of which are promoted by the supportive housing project and RFP.

The work also aligns with the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners’ FY22 priority to expand affordable housing and fund supportive services for those experiencing chronic homelessness. More information about Mecklenburg County CSS’s Homeless Services division is available here.

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