Housing the Homeless

MOORE PLACE When it opens, the eighty-five units will house the chronically homeless.

MOORE PLACE When it opens, the eighty-five units will house the chronically homeless.

Kathy Izard thought someone here should start a program offering permanent housing to the homeless. Then she thought, "Why not me?"

Graphic designer Kathy Izard had volunteered at the Urban Ministry Center for fifteen years when an inspirational speech by a former homeless man changed her life.

"All that good we do in a day," she says of meals, showers, and other services provided for the city's 6,500 homeless people, "but we lock them out to the bad at night. I tried not to think about what happened to them. They're sleeping under the bridges."

She was haunted by the speaker's stories and knew many people in his shoes. Though the city has up to 1,000 temporary shelter beds (the exact number depends on the season), there was still a great need for permanent housing for the chronically homeless.

With others at the center, Izard researched successful housing models in New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities. The key was to have a caseworker help new residents stay healthy and find income. Why didn't someone here start something? Then she thought, "Why not me?"

Izard's graphic design firm is now closed and she's at the helm of UMC's Homeless to Homes. First she created a pilot with thirteen clients in an apartment building. She learned taxpayers benefit because housing keeps those clients out of jail cells and hospitals. She learned the pilot cost about $30 per night per resident, compared with a $110 jail stay or a $1,029 ER visit. And most important, residents received drug treatment, found work, or secured such benefits as food stamps and Medicaid. Those who have income pay rent.

Now Izard, forty-six, has rallied a team to create an eighty-five-unit apartment complex. David Furman has  donated architectural services. Volunteer Matt Wall led the search for land  and UMC has an option on two acres in North Charlotte. Joann Markley is the  case manager, and the C.D. Spangler Foundation has committed $500,000. Hugh McColl III, Jerri Licari, and Bill Holt are leading the effort to raise the total needed: $10 million. 

"I answered a call," Izard says. "If I'd known how hard it was going to be, I'm not sure I would have picked up the phone. But getting up every morning under a bridge is a lot harder than doing this."

Big Idea

"We have to have units available all over Charlotte so people can live near employment opportunities," she says, "and to achieve this, all districts need to work together to create a citywide locational housing policy."


Photo: MOORE PLACE When it opens, the eighty-five units will house the chronically homeless.



More »Related Stories

The Melting Pot: Southern & Not-Southern Food

Memories of Brooklyn

A black man’s search for the “warmth of other suns” leads him back to his Southern roots

From Rust Belt to Bible Belt

The long shadow of steel country

Is Charlotte Southern?

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

New releases by Birdsong and Triple C this weekend, along with Charlotte Beerfest

Your guide to the latest in the local craft scene

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

Social Mixers, Singles Events, Red Tie Gala, Steelers vs. Panthers Tailgates and Parties, and More - Sept. 18-21

It’s an exciting next few days in Charlotte, with plenty of enticing social events on the schedule, as this is officially the last weekend of summer.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Experimenting in the Kitchen

Chef Tom Dyrness shares some secrets to success before next week's Fire in the City semifinals

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

5Church: Exploring the New Lunch Menu

5Church has unveiled a new lunch menu with several new additions including entrees, salads, and sandwiches

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

Nightlife News: NASCAR Bartender, NC Music Factory Gets the Biz, Treehouse Whiskey & Fork Grand Opening

The latest news, poised to impact Charlotte’s nightlife and social scene.

Comments