Ending Homelessness is an Economic Development Issue
Many of you have by now seen last Friday’s Charlotte Observer article highlighting efforts led by Charlotte Center City Partners to address issues related to people experiencing homelessness sleeping on benches along Trade & Tryon Streets.
For several years now, I’ve been invited to ongoing discussions lead by Center City Partners to find solutions to street homelessness in Uptown. I’m grateful for Michael Smith’s leadership because he and his team truly care about those experiencing homelessness. They also understand that homelessness is more than a social issue. Yes, homelessness is absolutely about people who experience it – first and foremost. However, it is also an economic development issue. As Charlotte continues to emerge as a world class city in every respect – business, culture, entertainment, sports, quality of life – we will also face the issues that large cities must face, including crime, poverty, and homelessness. Creating a vibrant downtown for people to work, live, and enjoy is critical. As more people are attracted to Charlotte, we have more opportunity to engage citizens in the issue of homelessness and solicit their support, through their time, talent, and treasure, in positive solutions.
Center City Partners has spent considerable time and energy researching how other communities have approached the issue in their downtowns, learning what works and what doesn’t. Charlotte is fortunate to have a business alliance that so clearly understands that by helping our community address and solve our homeless issues we will create a downtown that we can all be proud of and one that shows the world that a first-class city is also a compassionate city.
Tags: Carson Dean, Charlotte Center City Partners, homelessness, men experiencing homelessness, Men's Shelter of Charlotte, non profit
In September 2008 I became the Executive Director of the Men's Shelter of Charlotte. I've spent almost 15 years working to end homelessness in North Carolina. After working with homeless and runaway youth in Raleigh, I served as the Director of the South Wilmington Street Center (men's shelter) in Wake County and then worked on Orange County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. I am a former board chair for the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness and former chair of the Homeless Services Network in Charlotte. In 2014 I served as the partner agency representative on the United Way Central Carolinas board of directors.