There’s Still Hope: Local Organization Helps Charlotte’s Homeless Population During Pandemic

By Chris Rudisill
October 30, 2020

After a Charlotte, N.C. hotel shut down in May, some members of the LGBTQ community were left with limited options. The hotel has been in a legal battle with residents over the evictions since April. Deshon Medley, who identifies as gay, was one of those people facing homelessness. He had been living at the hotel since February. Prior to that, he was at a local Budget Inn. When faced with eviction, he got in touch with Rev. Debra Hopkins at There’s Still Hope through a friend at the hotel.

There’s Still Hope is an outreach program of Essentials for Life Ministries. It is designed to provide safe, emergency and temporary alternatives to shelters. While the organization focuses on assisting adult transgender women, the pandemic has increased the need for others like the 23-year-old Medley in the LGBTQ community.

They are currently housing three individuals through the end of the year. All three are currently employed, despite the difficulties in securing jobs during the pandemic. Originally, There’s Still Hope supported people for one to seven days, but COVID-19 forced them to reevaluate and the current program offers six months of transitional housing, support services and weekly groceries. “By the end of the six months, they should be able to be in stable housing someplace,” says Hopkins. Because of the safety of transgender residents, some of whom have been the victims of domestic abuse, Hopkins asked to keep the location of the extended-stay hotels private.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.

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