CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte nonprofit is transforming a former hotel space into apartments to combat homelessness in Mecklenburg County.
Roof Above provides services to help people live a stable and safe life.
Part of the organization's work includes operating a day services center and three year-round shelters.
The company has embarked on a new venture so more people have a place to call home.
Last week, Roof Above welcomed its first tenants inside the SECU The Rise on Clanton apartments. This is considered Charlotte’s first adaptive reuse, permanent supportive housing solution.
The building was previously a Quality Inn Hotel.
Roof Above purchased the facility in 2020 and refurbished it into 88 studio apartments for people experiencing chronic homelessness.
Director of Communications for Roof Above Melinda Wilshire says the housing options are meeting a great need in Charlotte.
She says many of the tenants are people who were displaced last year after the county instructed them to vacate the North End Encampment Site. The county says the area was a health risk due to rodent infestation.
"All of the tenants have been homeless for at least a year. Many have disabling conditions," Wilshire said. "There a lot of folks who have been staying at shelters, sometimes for decades."
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard, 2,428 people are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
About 420 people across the county are experiencing chronic homelessness.
For almost a decade, Oladimeji James Ajiboye was one of them.
Years back, Ajiboye left Nigeria to pursue work opportunities in America.
Things were good, until he suffered a stroke in 2013.
"Once I got out the hospital I lost my apartment, so I had to go to the shelter," Ajiboye said.
Eight years later, he's finally moved into a place that's his own.
"This is my place, it's not a temporary place," he said.
Tenants like Ajiboye also have access to a full-time nurse, a learning lab and case managers.
There's a community space at the apartment building for activities.
Clanton apartment residents are selected through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg coordinated entry process. It determines who's eligible for the housing option.
Residents are expected to pay a third of the income they make.