WHO WE ARE
The work and vision of Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition (HFTIC) is to rectify housing injustices, centering people of color while prioritizing all of those that need help.
Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition advocates for and provides safe, affordable and sustainable housing options for individuals experiencing homelessness or in imminent risk of becoming homeless with the goal of reaching self-sufficiency while providing dedicated ongoing street outreach throughout Mecklenburg County.
HFTIC was founded in 2020 as a direct response to housing inequality, which is the primary culprit for BIPOC individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Our country has historically cultivated racial wealth gaps between Black and White households in the US which has led Black people only representing 13% of the US population but almost 40% of the overall homeless population.
In keeping with the Housing First model, we believe “housing is a human right”. The population of people we serve predominantly consist of the underserved BIPOC community in Mecklenburg County.
WHAT WE DO
Ending socioeconomic and racial inequities to housing for people experiencing homelessness
Outreach is the essential component to engaging with individuals who have been unsheltered long-term or are experiencing their first episode of homelessness. Through building rapport to prepare individuals for future housing and employment opportunities, we provide necessary survival supplies and connections to needed services.
Affordable housing and a critical step for long-term stable housing. Our houses are shared living affordable housing options for men experiencing homelessness. In addition to providing an affordable option, we offer mentorship, job placement assistance, financial literacy training, supplemental food assistance and spiritual fellowship and life coaching in our Houses. Our residents are referred from partnering organizations or from our street outreach program.
HFTIC continually advocates for housing opportunities and expanded resources to combat the rise in racial inequity of BIPOC by aggressively partnering with organizations with the mission of ending homelessness and acknowledging that race is a factor that leads to homelessness. We believe addressing racial inequity is key to ending homelessness.
OUR HISTORY - NORTH END TENT ENCAMPMENT AND BEYOND
The impact of our work in the last two years has been tremendous and we have been tireless and dedicated in every aspect of what we offer. Prior to the Health Department eviction of the North End tent encampment, our organization supported over 100 persons living there by supplying food, clothing, survival camping gear, first aid kits, support and more from May 2020 through the eviction in February 2021. We assisted with job placements, resume building, transportation (for doctors’ appointments, job interviews and service connection), shelter placement , and even successfully reunified some with their families.
In December 2021, HFTIC lead a protest advocating for an extension of the national eviction moratorium in the midst of the pandemic and sent an open letter to Governor Roy Cooper. Additionally, we publicly petitioned the Mayor of Charlotte and City Council to demand emergency shelter for unsheltered individuals and families living in the Uptown tent encampment, garnering over 15,000 signatures.
In February 2021, Mecklenburg County Public Health Department issued an Abatement of Imminent Hazard Order to all residents in the North End tent encampment. The residents had only 72 hours to pack two bags and prepare to move into temporary County Shelter Motels, not knowing where they were going. Our organization was asked to assist with outreach because of our rapport and long-time trust with the residents. We assisted with signing up 210 people to enter into the North End Encampment County Motel program.
Though it would seem to some that moving from a tent to a motel room would be good news it was quite the opposite for many. We performed literal triage for the trauma stricken residents. Despite them being previously unsheltered, they had formed deep attachments with their encampment neighbors and were used to surviving in a particular way. Many were uneasy because they had to leave most of their belongings behind to be potentially discarded. We were on the shuttle buses with the residents as more were ferried out of the encampment and into the motels.
After the move was complete, we worked with coalition organizations to provide a makeshift food pantry, accommodate special dietary needs, held community events for residents, assisted with job placements, provided hair cuts, assisted with retrieving identification, and transportation to job interviews and doctors appointments. One of the most important parts of our work during this time was participating and advocating in case conferences and management meetings that navigated housing resources for the motel residents.
In 2021, we also contracted with Roof Above and Mecklenburg County to provide winter-Covid-19 street outreach. During our contract we were able to navigate people into the winter shelter and in some cases provided transportation to safe havens during the three major harsh winter storms. We unified a client to his family in Greensboro, NC and were able to successfully match people to housing. In addition to traditional outreach, we also participated in several community events. These events provide food, haircuts, clothing, toys, and fellowship to underserved communities in Mecklenburg County residents, especially those that are unstably housed in motels around the city.