CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte non-profit is getting creative when it comes to solving homelessness in the community. Roof Above just purchased an 88-unit hotel that will eventually be transformed into permanent housing.
The hotel, at the intersection of Clanton Road and Interstate 77, will be open this winter as an emergency shelter for women and families. Renovations will begin in summer 2021 to transform the hotel into more permanent housing for more than 80 families facing homelessness.
"Folks who are likely on a fixed income, have had a least a year of homelessness, we just moved someone in this week whos been homeless for years," CEO of Roof Above Liz Clasen-Kelly said.
While affordable housing has long been an issue in Charlotte as the city exploded in growth and development, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem for one of the city's most vulnerable groups.
“As the pandemic has created financial challenges for hotels and motels nationally, nonprofits like Roof Above are stepping in to buy facilities we can use for important public purposes – creating a win-win for everybody,” said Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO of Roof Above.
The $12 million renovation will include a kitchen in each unit as well as a support wing dedicated to provide services for individuals looking for resources and support.
When complete, the new housing will replicate Moore Place, a Charlotte housing community that offers supportive housing for 120 individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness.
The hotel will serve an important purpose through the winter. Roof Above suspended a winter shelter program due to the pandemic and needed a place to help house and shelter women and children in the community. The purchase of the hotel will allow the group to immediately open up rooms for those families.
"I think we will improve the wellbeing of our community," Clasen-Kelly said.
The project will be paid for through a CARES Act grant from the city of Charlotte as well as donations from the Springsteen Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and a significant financial contribution from the McKibbon Family Foundation.
Roof Above currently operates a service center, two year-round shelters and more than 400 units of supportive housing in the city. It also operates a treatment program for substance use disorders.