Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center is heading a coalition that aims to raise nearly $12 million to house 450 chronically homeless people within two years.
The longterm goal of the project is to build a facility to house the chronically homeless, but Urban Ministry Center director Dale Mullennix says the coalition isn’t going to wait that long to start housing people. He expects existing apartment space to be utilized before then to help the chronically homeless.
“They are in fact most likely to die on the streets if not helped."
The project is mirrored after another Urban Minstry Center facility called Moore Place, which offers supportive housing. The basic idea is to house people first and then give them the medical and social services they need to turn their lives around.
Carl Caldwell says the system works. He’s a current resident of Moore Place who says he ended up homeless after turning to drugs when his mother died.
"I needed counseling when I lost my mom and didn't get it. Now, I have a counselor and therapist and everything is fantastic," Caldwell says.
The goal is to serve 450 people because Mullenix says that’s about how many are chronically homeless in Charlotte. He says they represent about 10 percent of the homeless population but consume 50 percent of resources.
So far, Mecklenburg County has approved $2.3 million for support services for the project, Bank of America will provide $250,000 for administrative costs and city officials say money from the Housing Trust Fund will be available to help build housing units. Mullenix says a building site has not been selected.