During the day, the Kiplin Automotive Group in Charlotte, North Carolina looks like any other car dealership, but at night, it transforms into a safe parking lot for homeless individuals living in their cars.
This Optimist Daily story was shared with us by one of our Optimist readers and is truly a story of a motivated community member helping those in need. The lot is well lit, safe, and has security cameras, making it an ideal place for individuals to seek refuge for the night.
Since Kiplin Auto’s manager James Charles opened the lot up as an overnight safe parking lot for individuals and families in need, about 20 families, men, and women have used the lot for safe parking.
For people living in their cars, sleeping overnight poses safety risks as well as potential tickets from police. Charles was motivated to open up the lot after his own family experienced housing insecurity for several months in 2015. Since opening the lot, he has received generous donations from other community members including hats, coats, blankets and even a port-a-potty.
He has also received enough financial donations to start a nonprofit organization, HALO Now, and a GoFundMe, which has currently raised more than $16,000. The money will be used to help those in need pay a security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment. Charles himself is donating $200 of every car sale to the cause.
Earlier this week, we shared a story about how California is addressing rising homelessness in the state. Acts of community generosity such as this are another great solution for filling in the gap where state aid is not meeting the needs of all residents.