‘Sad situation’: Homeless encampment near NoDa grows, along with residents’ concerns

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County officials and residents continue to address issues with homeless people setting up camps around Charlotte.

“I have noticed some more tents being erected since the Tent City closed down,” said Laurie O’Sullivan, who has seen the encampment in Alexander Street Park near NoDa.

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The county issued an abatement order for public health due to a rat infestation at the Tent City off North Tryon Street last month. The property has been vacated and the residents there were offered hotel rooms for 90 days.

Park rangers and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spoke with people Wednesday living in tents at Alexander Street Park.

Officials told people at the encampment along Belmont Avenue that camping was not allowed at the site.

“I can understand just because we don’t want another situation like Tent City,” O’Sullivan said. “Hopefully, they can find a place that’s safe and protected.”

A CMPD lieutenant said officers were there to only be on standby and assist county park rangers. Authorities did not take any action against people living in the tents and made no arrests.

“We need a long-term solution, not just a temporary solution,” O’Sullivan said. “It makes me a little emotional, because I feel very lucky.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS]

A resident who lives in the area said she has seen a few tents for years but recently, there has been an increase in the population.

“It’s a sad situation,” she said. “But at the same time, I want to feel safe on my greenway. You know, we got to figure out a better solution where these people can go.”

Tent City on North Tryon was just outside of uptown and was next to Interstate 277 and several businesses. In contrast, the encampment near NoDa is in a park near the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and a neighborhood.

Channel 9 is asking if there is any assistance provided for the residents at the encampment.