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Homelessness the Problem and the Solutions


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Snapped these photos today all in the I-277 right away.   We can't be world class or a great city with our citizens sleeping on the streets.  I know it is foolish to think everyone will get off the streets but I also know this city can do and should do better than this.  Tiny homes for homeless, motel conversions for single occupancy rooms,  vacant city land for affordable housing, helping people with addictions etc.  

But this  and allowing this is by NO means a solution.  Lets resolve in 2021 to help reduce these homeless encampments and get people into shelters.  A city the stature of Charlotte can do better.  

Overhead before Christmas I heard this from a formerly homeless woman in Concord.  She got a job (at Amazon in Concord) and a place to rent in the same week.  We can get people off the streets! 

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Edited by KJHburg
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Rent control is the exact opposite of what we need.  We need to preserve NOAH naturally occurring affordable housing (older apartment complexes) and build more affordable housing.  The Eastland plan o

I'm assuming you live in South End so this is not in your back yard. I have lived in Fourth Ward for years and letting these people live in these conditions is not a solution. Lets be honest also, the

Do we have good data on the homeless...especially the chronically homeless? Can someone tell me a rough number of homeless people in Charlotte/County? How many of units of housing does this

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There was a time when rents were not so cheap. But people wanted dog parks, luxury dog baths, and other "amenities". Before you rented a apartment to save money to buy a home, now rent is the same as a mortgage. It's insane.  Charlotte needs  rent control if they don't want to face the same fate as San Francisco and New York City with the exodus occurring there. 

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On 1/2/2021 at 3:58 PM, urbanlover568 said:

There was a time when rents were not so cheap. But people wanted dog parks, luxury dog baths, and other "amenities". Before you rented a apartment to save money to buy a home, now rent is the same as a mortgage. It's insane.  Charlotte needs  rent control if they don't want to face the same fate as San Francisco and New York City with the exodus occurring there. 

I thought NYC already has rent control?

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The current spike in homeless populations is not an isolated Charlotte issue and has much more to do with a massive spike in unemployment due to a global pandemic and lack of social safety nets here in the US. We've had 2 decades of stagnant wages combined with very major increases in housing and healthcare costs, cities everywhere have affordability issues. Charlotte is still a relatively low cost of living for a city of its size and the rising costs of housing are much more tied to the increasing population and urbanization trends and zero to do with apartment amenities. 

Putting the blame on the city for the US's societal issues is the wrong finger to point unfortunately. The city finally got a bump in tax revenue last year after property evaluations but had been working with severely undervalued tax basis from before Charlotte's large population spike and relatively low rates to begin with.  They have started pushing for increased % of affordable housing units in new construction which is a start, but it is a very small number and these projects take several years, not to mention having the city fund portions of private development is not an efficient use of tax dollars. The city could put requirements for affordable housing units instead of funding them directly, but then you get pushback from the development community for the increased constructions costs and we are still very much a low development cost focused city.

There are some very major changes Charlotte could try like a land value tax that some economists think could help ease the costs of housing when combined with relaxed zoning restrictions, but you can't fault a Southern city like Charlotte for not being a pioneer in this area. We are unfortunately one of several growing Southern cities that has to be careful about major changes like taxes, wages, or rent controls in order to still be competitive in our development, these types of changes really need to happen at the national level but I think we all know the main focus of our policy makers..

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Do we have good data on the homeless...especially the chronically homeless?

Can someone tell me a rough number of homeless people in Charlotte/County?

How many of units of housing does this number represent, assuming individual figures a grouped into families, etc?

is there a rough breakdown of factors/reasons for the chronically homeless, i.e. X% domestic abuse situation, X% sudden job loss, X% inadequate income,  X% drug addiction, etc?

Total City Vacant Land acreage and number of lots?  Lot-by-Lot analysis of which lands might temporarily serve as tent encampments due to the current crisis?

Actually, speaking of data, is a registry maintained of the chronically homeless or at-risk homeless?  Would we want to set up such a registry, or are people too embarassed?  I suppose criminalization of drug possession/use prevents getting a good grasp of the homelessness problem?

While one can link them, should we really view the homelessness problem as requiring a totally separate strategy versus the Affordable Housing problem?  

 

Edited by RANYC
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9 minutes ago, RANYC said:

Do we have good data on the homeless...especially the chronically homeless?

Can someone tell me a rough number of homeless people in Charlotte/County?

How many of units of housing does this number represent, assuming individual figures a grouped into families, etc?

is there a rough breakdown of factors/reasons for the chronically homeless, i.e. X% domestic abuse situation, X% sudden job loss, X% inadequate income,  X% drug addiction, etc?

Total City Vacant Land acreage and number of lots?  Lot-by-Lot analysis of which lands might temporarily serve as tent encampments due to the current crisis?

While one can link them, should we really view the homelessness problem as requiring a totally separate strategy versus the Affordable Housing problem?  

 

https://mecklenburghousingdata.org/welcome/housing-data-snapshot/

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from twitter tonight and according to reports there is a bed in a shelter for every tent city occupant.  and Homelessness is a local problem sure the numbers increased but we had tents in early 2020 before a single shut down they were seen from the elevated LYNX line over the CSX line north of uptown.  Charlotte as a city save some nonprofits has ignored this problem.  

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Queen City Nerve

@queencitynerve

Johnson inquires about reports that there are beds awaiting those folks living in Tent City if they want them. Wideman confirms there is currently a bed available at Men's Shelter on Tryon/Statesville or the Salvation Army Women's Shelter for everybody who is in Tent City.

In related news from city council meeting tonight

Wideman says she thinks about 940 affordable-housing units are slated to come online through rezoning petitions approved last year (voluntary and no city subsidy).
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^ I've read this too from some of the other non-profits regarding beds / support. During the pandemic, those who are living in tents shifted from living in the woods / out of sight to living out in the streets of center city since the area became a ghost town when workers left. Roof Above for example has said many of those in tent city are the same people they were working with prior to the pandemic, they just moved to Tent City from being hidden in the bushes as Uptown emptied out. 

Edited by CLT2014
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this issue seems to be finally getting the attention it needs.  also notice Pat Cotham's comment that is what I have been saying for a year.  One group consolidated to be the point of contact like a big town in Texas  Houston

One mother lifts another mother out of tent city - Charlotte Agenda   agenda article

here is the umbrella organization in Houston that is really reducing homelessness in this mega city.  (and it is 3 county regional  effort with a population of 6 million plus) 

HOME (homelesshouston.org)

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I have a good friend that owns a condo in 1st Ward (trying to sell), and she had to unexpectedly work with CMPD for a couple of days with regards to a homeless couple who took up residence on the porch for a long time.  Luckily, they were not able to get inside, and the belongings (and trash) that had amassed on the porch had overflowed into the alley.  This couple had threatened the neighbors for days (to actually kill them) and when the police were able to get in touch with my friend, they had told her that this couple is well known by the police.  I am taking it on faith that this couple has some mental health issues and the police's hands are tied as to how to handle them.

There was damage to one of the windows where they attempted to get into the condo, so in addition to working with the realtor to sell, she has to get the window fixed.  She does not live in this condo, and was renting it prior to the prior tenants moving out last summer.

I was talking with her yesterday and referenced this thread to let her know that the couple was probably part of the tent city a few blocks away.  She said the neighbors, unfortunately, had to deal with the couple and their threats for a few days before the police were able to get in contact with her - there is a longer personal story as to why it took a few days.  But she had to immediately break away from her work day to go Uptown and work with CMPD to have them permanently banned from the property, file reports and the like.

I guess that if I lived in a condo in 1st Ward, I'd be a little leery of this kind of thing happening more often than not.  Overall, it is just another example that the city needs to work with other agencies to have this cleaned up and sorted out.

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small coastal city of Wilmington showing the big city of Charlotte how to get people off the streets into tiny homes.  

Eden Village: NC village plans to solve homelessness one tiny home at a time - ABC11 Raleigh-Durham

and Savannah is doing this too with homeless vets

Savannah’s Tiny House Project for homeless vets enters second phase (msn.com)

Why not Charlotte????

 

Oh yeah this too:  heard a testimonial from a former drug addicted man in Concord who lived in his Jeep and he got off drugs, got a job and got a roof over his head.  Turned his life around.  Homelessness is not forever if we can a hand UP 

Edited by KJHburg
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WSOCTV is really highlighting the homeless problem as I said the state is passing the buck to the Charlotte and the city says it is state.  WHY on earth can not the leaders of this city look to places they are REDUCING their homeless populations?  Too busy trying to push a multi Billion dollar transit plan or dreams of a new domed stadium?  

Meck County hosts virtual town hall on homelessness (wsoctv.com)

this person has even got a fence around his tent?  would the state of NC allow me to camp at the top of Stone Mountain or Chimney Rock or pitch a tent atop Mt Mitchell?  I guess I should try since the state has no control over their own property. 

I can not tell you how disappointed I am in the city of Charlotte govt, county of Mecklenburg in dealing with this.  Is this your legacy Mayor Lyles??

 

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How are you blaming the local city government for not having a solution for one of the most complicated issues facing cities everywhere? Why should the city be to blame for services that should be provided by the state?  We have one of the worst unemployment benefit programs in the country as well as continuing to clutch our pearls instead of expanding Medicaid. Both of which would have absolutely reduced the amount of people living in this encampment which is surging because we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic. What do you want the city to do, arrest these people? Force them to disperse or bus them out of the area? 

I'm sorry you have an unpleasant view as you drive into the city you complain about but do not live in. It's the next level of NIMBYism it's not even your backyard!! I'd be willing to wager you don't live in Charlotte due to the taxes, but love to complain that the city isn't spending enough money on issues like this. Extra hilarious that you're a landlord complaining about the homeless, the dissonance is mind-blowing...

/rant

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^^^ The rant above:   I don't drive by this encampment daily or even often.  But by allowing people to camp out on state owned property is not the answer.  People were camping on other private property nearby until the property owner had them removed.  I want these people to get help for their addiction issues, going into shelter where according to many there is room, and get the help they need.  But by allowing an encampment to grow on state property is the not answer.  If private landowners want to allow them to do that so be it.    In reference to unemployment and Medicaid you mention California is extremely generous with that yet still has many larger encampments.  

Please message me privately and I will let you know where I do work with the homeless and you can volunteer if you already not helping out somewhere  But don't be calling me out show me what you are doing and what your solution is?  I proposed a number of things we can be doing with affordable housing, tiny houses, city owned land like Eastland,  a partnership of many agencies like in Houston etc.   

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You came onto this site to post a picture and rant yourself about camping on Mt. Mitchell and something about Vi Lyles, adding nothing to a discussion around the problem or solution around homelessness...

The idea that all homeless people are drug addicts or have mental illnesses is the issue. There is a subset of the homeless population that is perpetually homeless but the large populations you are seeing are because regular people lost their jobs or had a large medical expense. California has 4 times the population of NC and even more absurd levels of income equality, you can't just invalidate massively helpful programs because California also has large homeless populations.. Those are 2 things that could have drastically lowered the current population of homeless people in Charlotte, which should have happened at the state level where massive systemic programs are governed. I've also posted previous opinions on why a city like Charlotte is struggling with income inequality and housing prices due to its massive spikes in population, but still finally starting to incorporate affordable housing projects in recent years but those take time to build and can't react as quickly to something like a global pandemic. 

The fact that you said you would be ok with the encampment being on private property is also really telling, you don't want to help people you want them somewhere else, regardless of whatever volunteer work you do.

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Looks like everybody has been offered a hotel room for 90 days with two bags worth of clothes. They cannot use drugs or alcohol during their stay in the hotel.

Those over 65 will be offered the vaccine. 

Transportation to the hotels sounds like it is not being managed well.

Edited by CLT2014
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On 2/17/2021 at 2:02 PM, CLT>___ said:

I'm assuming you live in South End so this is not in your back yard. I have lived in Fourth Ward for years and letting these people live in these conditions is not a solution. Lets be honest also, the tent city residents are in no way taking care of their area. They are littering all over, allowing open flames to set fields on fire, harassing people walking down the street (my mother visited and had some very nasty things yelled at her from across the street). 

If people are not whiling to utilize facilities then our government needs to fix the safety issues some may have with them and the remaining homeless that still choose not to accept help cannot be allowed to sleep in tents in neighborhoods.  

By no means was my message a support for keeping Tent City long term.  My reply was frustration at the half measure taken by our local government to abruptly move this vulnerable part of our community with no long term plan.  Even after the 90 day hotel stay for those who take it, what happens next?  What is the plan for people who don't take the offer?

It all just seemed knee jerk, as did maybe my frustration post towards local government not considering the impacts to those living nearby such as yourself.

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