HousingCLT is a community collaboration among rental property owners and professional property managers and homeless services agencies to provide housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness who have significant barriers to securing safe, permanent, and affordable housing. HousingCLT connects social services agencies that need safe, affordable housing options for their homeless clients to private sector property owners and managers who have available housing units.
HousingCLT is an initiative of the City of Charlotte that was among the first recommendations of the Opportunity Task Force to be implemented. HousingCLT is funded by the City of Charlotte, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, A Way Home Endowment at Foundation for the Carolinas, and the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and operates under the umbrella of Socialserve.com. Socialserve.com provides online housing locator services through technology-based platforms and a bi-lingual call center, including disaster relocation services, special needs housing location (senior, disability, and HUD housing vouchers), HUD Certified foreclosure prevention counseling and referrals to supportive housing and other services.
HousingCLT Housing Providers agree to use alternate screening criteria for prospective tenants who are referred by Participating Agencies (homeless service agencies). Participating Agencies agree to provide ongoing supportive services for at least one year to their clients who are housed with a HousingCLT Housing Provider.
There are simply not enough affordable housing units in Charlotte-Mecklenburg available to individuals and families suffering from homelessness. According to research conducted by UNC-Charlotte’s Urban Institute and Metropolitan Studies, it would take 16,000 affordable rental units to prevent and end homelessness in Charlotte. This reflects an overall growing community need: data from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates a need in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for more than 34,000 housing units available to individuals and families at or below 50% of area median income.
Even if financial resources were available to build enough new affordable rental housing units, production of new units cannot be scaled up at a pace commensurate with the need.
HousingCLT makes use of existing housing resources as one component of the solution to the shortage of affordable housing. HousingCLT offers property owners and managers an opportunity to participate in a community-focused solution to homelessness by offering existing vacant units from their inventory to homeless individuals and families.
As reported by the Charlotte Business Journal in January 2017, the apartment vacancy rate at the end of 2016 was 4.8%. HousingCLT is also a method by which landlords and property managers can generate revenue from units that may otherwise remain vacant.