Demand Emergency Shelter for the Charlotte Tent Community from Charlotte City Leaders

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Our most vulnerable citizens, the growing number of those forced to live in unsheltered tent encampments, are in peril as much of the Uptown tent community land is being sold.  A lawsuit has been filed to clear the tents immediately, but the individuals and families will still remain. CDC Guidelines have enabled tent communities to remain relatively intact over the past six months as dispersing them could inadvertently spread COVID-19 and would disconnect residents from food, water, basic supplies, first aid and sanitation services. Many large and small non-profits and private citizens have worked tirelessly to care for our homeless neighbors by providing tents, sleeping bags, clothing, shoes, food, water, ice, bug spray, fans, batteries, lanterns and other items, every single day.  These unsheltered homeless residents (estimated at about 150-200 adults and children in the Uptown encampment) have endured torrential downpours through the spring and 100 degree weather through the summer with no relief in sight, and the longer they remain outdoors without proper care, the more complicated their issues and circumstances become.  Many of the residents have jobs and have fallen on bad luck and had catastrophic family loss resulting in a lack of support systems preventing them from gathering lump sums required for deposits and down payments.  Some suffer from mental illness, substance use, trauma and neglect and require wrap-around, supportive services to enable their independence. An oversimplified explanation is we are witnessing an unprecedented lack of social services and mental healthcare.

These individuals and families must be carefully relocated as soon as possible.  Methodical care will be required to relocate these individuals and families to emergency shelters in homogeneous groups of women and children, family units and men. But doing so would, however, result in the creation of more essential jobs.  Items for immediate consideration are below.

1.) Covid-19 prevention, rapid testing and positive case care
2.) Placement and care for pregnant women
3.) Placement and care for at-risk teens
4.) Increased community-led safety measures
5.) Hygiene provisions – showers, handwashing stations, laundry services, sanitizers and masks 
6.) Mental health, trauma, domestic violence and abuse counseling
7.) Assistance retrieving government issued documents needed to attain jobs and housing (including social security cards, state IDs, birth certificates, etc.)
8.) Assistance with job resources and placement
9.) Bus passes and transportation assistance
10.) Cell phones, WiFi and charging stations

We implore City Leaders to employ all available affordable housing resources to provide emergency shelter and supportive permanent housing where possible for these individuals and families. These are unprecedented times...we are facing the beginning of an eviction crisis during a global pandemic.  Our existing City, County and Community infrastructure have been unable to handle the demand to-date, but we are certain by bringing together ALL service providers, including the federal government, WITH the advocacy of concerned Charlotte-area citizens, we can come up with a new point-of-care paradigm and solutions to address the growing issue of unsheltered homelessness. The relocation of these individuals and families will require methodical care, but will also result in job creation.

There is strength in numbers and together we can better address this growing issue.  We should not tolerate individuals and families being treated with such indifference while they live as if they are in a third-world country ... in the United States of America.   

Please sign this petition to demand the safe relocation of our homeless friends, neighbors and loved ones in our Uptown area unsheltered tent communities to emergency shelters and supportive permanent housing.

 Watch this short documentary from Rocio Pagoada Photography of the Tent City www.rociopagoada.com © 2020 Rocio Pagoada Photography