supports only continues to rise. Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health
officials are pleased to announce that not only has federal funding
that supports homeless services been renewed, but that new funding has
also been awarded. Every year the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) awards funding to communities to assist homeless and
disabled citizens with housing. This year, Mecklenburg County and the
City of Charlotte were awarded recurring and new HUD funding totaling
$3,415,231. Most of the funding is recurring and will be disbursed to
maintain existing Continuum of Care programs and services through
partnering agencies that assist the homeless like the Salvation Army,
Hope Haven and Community Link.
Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health will receive $1,904,903 of that
funding which will continue to support the community's Shelter Plus
Care and ACCESS programs -- $260,532 of which is brand new funding
through the Samaritan Bonus award. This new money will provide some
additional permanent housing subsidies for the chronically homeless.
Area Mental Health Housing Resource Development Coordinator and Chair
of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care Roxi Johnson believes
the money will better meet the needs of the growing homeless
population in our community. "It ensures that we can continue to
provide stable housing for those with disabilities who are most in
need. Most of these people have an area median income of $15,000 a
year or less. With the new money, it provides us with an opportunity
to extend assistance to more people," said Johnson.
Peter Safir, Mecklenburg County's Homeless Services director,
estimates that there are approximately 6000 homeless persons in the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. Currently 181 individuals and/or
families occupy housing units that are assisted by HUD funding. The
federal Stimulus Package may provide some additional funding for
homeless shelters and housing, but the specific impact of that funding
is yet to be determined.
ACCESS is an integrated multidisciplinary System of Care for people
who are homeless and severely mentally ill and for those with co-
occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. ACCESS provides
outreach, assessment and case management services. Shelter Plus Care
is a tenant-based rental assistance program through HUD for persons
who are chronically homeless and have a disability.
Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health manages the public mental
health, substance abuse and developmental disability system in
Mecklenburg County. For help and information, the public can contact
the Area Mental Health call center, MeckLINK at 704-336-6404 or visit
Mecklink.charmeck.org. MeckLINK provides screening and referrals to
appropriate service providers in the community in English and Spanish.