Salvation Army dealing with overcrowding during summer


Every morning, more than 400 women and children show up to the Salvation Army shelter on Spratt Street hoping there will be a bed available.

“Daily, we do have to turn people away,” said director Deronda Metz.

Metz told Channel 9 the number of homeless families skyrockets during the summer months.

“We have 250 beds here and right now we’re serving 375 women and children,” said Metz.  “Almost 200 of them are children.”

Many families already sleep on the floors or spend the nights sitting in the lobby.

Diane Small sees the crowds first-hand. She’s been staying at the shelter for six months after losing her job and her home.

“The people here, they do everything they can,” said Small. “They multi-task and try to help give you the best resources.”

In past summers, the Salvation Army opened temporary shelters, but they didn’t this year to focus efforts on a big building project.

The Salvation Army plans to renovate the shelter attic in August to create room for 64 new beds.

“Some of the dorm space will be individual rooms,” said Metz.

The $1.4 million project should be finished by the fall.

Until then, the Salvation Army is pleading with area families to help homeless relatives by allowing them to stay in their homes.

“If you can, that would be an ideal situation so we don’t have families struggling not knowing where they’re going to sleep at night,” said Metz.

Small is in the process of getting housing help so she can free up the shelter for another family.

“It won’t be much longer now and somebody else can get this space,” she said.

The Salvation Army believes 75 percent of their residents have some sort of family in the Charlotte area.

They’re also working to train staff on mediating with families.