CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are scheduled to evict dozens of homeless people living in an area called “Tent City” near uptown Charlotte this Friday at 5 p.m.
At the height of the pandemic people like David Japenga pitched tents on the private property owned by the company WB Moore.
“The idea of CMPD, or some sort of kind of enforcement agency, coming down here and knocking down our food, and knocking down our first aid supplies, and knocking down our shelter is frightening. I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Tent City tenant, David Japenga says.
While WB Moore says they hear the plea’s of Japenga and many others living on their property, there’s little they can do.
In a statement to Spectrum News 1, WB Moore says the City of Charlotte has threatened to fine them numerous times if they don’t clean up the graffiti along with trash and waste, and the only way they can do it is if everyone vacates the area.
“You know, we lean on each other and if we’re separated in different corners of the city far away, we don’t have a central area to receive good Samaritan food and water and first aid, we’re at risk of losing our lives,” Japenga says.
Ironically, Japenga used to cook hot meals for people living in the area.
“We started doing like a lasagna dinner once a week, and I would cook it up hot on the stove. Next thing I know, I am the houseless, I am the homeless,” Japenga explains.
After his girlfriend moved out of their shared apartment he found himself struggling to pay rent and landed in the tent city. Although he’s continuously worked 44-hours a week, he says he hasn’t been able to qualify for a new home in the Queen City.
“I don’t have enough income to have three times the rent on the going rate of an apartment here,” Japenga says.
Japenga says he hopes that will one day change for he and others who have fallen victim to the housing crisis.
“We wanna go away," Japenga says. "Where’s the affordable housing?How come we have a new trillion, billion dollar soccer stadium and no affordable housing?"
Once the property is cleaned up this Friday, a spokesman with WB Moore says they have plans to start construction on an employee parking lot that following Monday.