CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Heal Charlotte and the Reagan Drive Initiative have been brainstorming ways to improve the lives of people who live near Interstate 85 and Sugar Creek Road.
Heal Charlotte’s founder, Greg Jackson, believes the solution lies with one of the motels.
It's no secret that the area is plagued with problems. It's one of the areas that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has named a hot spot for violent crime. However, it’s also one of the more affordable places to live.
Many people live at the motels, paying the daily rate of $65. Each day, Charlotte native John Sherill goes to work so he can check in.
"It’s really hard in Charlotte right now for a lot of people out here. A lot of us could use a lot of help with stability," said Sherill.
To help with housing stability, Jackson said Heal Charlotte has launched a $5 million investment campaign. They're looking to fund the project through public and private dollars.
Jackson said they want to turn a motel into temporary housing.
Economy Inn is top on their list for its location. If all goes as planned, 137 units could provide housing to families for more than a year.
Jackson said all utilities would be paid, there would be Wi-Fi in the common areas and rent would be around $550 per month.
Jackson said this will allow families to save money so they can move into more permanent housing.
Jackson said they also want to put in a diner similar to Community Matters Cafe in west Charlotte. This will allow residents to work and learn life skills.
“It will be mainly for families, but also for human trafficking survivors and for the children of the McKinney Vento program. There’s at least 130 kids that stay here in this area. We really want to be able to address the root cause of what it is, and housing unfortunately is a big problem in this area,” said Jackson.
Sherill said he has a 2-year-old and 4-year-old son. He said his priority is to give them a good life.
"Right now, they are staying with some friends until we can get on our feet and stay stable, which is why I say, yeah it would be a good idea to have something like that," said Sherill.
Heal Charlotte is hoping to close on a motel this year so they can renovate it and move families in as soon as possible.
Jackson said they want to make sure they don’t displace families in the process.
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