CHARLOTTE — For years, hotels near the intersection of Interstate 85 and Sugar Creek Road have gained the reputation for being a nest of economic struggle and criminal activity.
That image is slowly changing in some spots.
“This is not the solution, but this is a large piece of the solution,” said Greg Jackson, founder of the nonprofit, Heal Charlotte. “We are going to make a dent in the population of homelessness that is happening in this city.”
The Charlotte City Council unanimously approved a major financial grant recently for Heal Charlotte.
Jackson has worked for the last seven years in the areas of anti-youth violence and resources for the homeless.
Jackson said, “$2.25 million was in the (request for proposal) for us as an organization, Heal Charlotte, to be able master lease the property that we’re on right now, and take the full operations.”
Heal Charlotte has been leasing 30 rooms at the Baymont Hotel for the last four years.
“It will allow us to take over the full operations of this hotel that we’re sitting at right now, 2.5 acres of land, 127 rooms, that we can dedicate to the families that we’ve always wanted to serve in a bigger capacity,” Jackson said.
That funding from the city will allow Heal Charlotte to provide dozens of families experiencing homelessness 90 to 120 days of free housing, Johnson said.
There are two requirements. They must have a source of income, and bring their families with them.
“During COVID, a lot of these hotels were operating as emergency shelters, but it wasn’t for the benefit of the families,” Jackson said. “They were overcharging families to stay there.”
Jackson said that 65% of the families that were at the hotel have transitioned to permanent housing.
This grant from the city will allow Heal Charlotte to clear a waitlist of families who live in shelters and in cars.
“This is good ground that they just sowed a seed in,” Jackson said. “And now, we can really house over a hundred families and give them an opportunity to have permanent housing and upward mobility in the city.”
VIDEO: Agency steps up to help woman with cancer experiencing homelessness
©2023 Cox Media Group