Men's Shelter of Charlotte's renovation to begin; creates shortage of shelters for homeless

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This month, the Men's Shelter of Charlotte, on North Tryon Street, will begin its four-month renovation to create a more "functional" and "hopeful" facility.

The 200 people they serve are being moved to a temporary shelter.

"As you can imagine, change is difficult," said Liz Clasen-Kelly, the Men's Shelter executive director.

Clasen-Kelly said that because of the stigma associated with homelessness, they've chosen not to publicly reveal the temporary location.

The renovations at the shelter start almost exactly the same time "Room in the Inn" closes for the season.

That shelter, run by the Urban Ministry Center and open only during the colder months, closed March 31.

"We do operate at capacity, so really as an entire community, our shelter system is at capacity, which is why it’s critical to be able to offer shelter during this time of renovation,” Clasen-Kelly said. "Every year on April 1, it’s a time where our community has to adjust to seeing fewer shelter beds in the system.”

Homelessness is an issue Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham is passionate about. She said the community needs to face the problem head-on.

"We have other problems that feed into this, like evictions, evictions are just rampant," Cotham said. "We have a real shortage for lower income housing for our seniors, for folks on a fixed income and people that are hourly workers. It’s a matter of the community needing to ask those hard questions, 'Is this OK with you?' It's not OK with me."

The Urban Ministry Center officials said they have been working to help the people they serve find other housing if needed.

As for the Men's Shelter, if people still show up on North Tryon Street over the next four months, an office is still open to direct people where to go.