A business owner in Charlotte was moved when he learned a woman was living in the car he sold her. So he decided to do something about it.
Times are tough. And even though when times get tough, the tough get going, that can be a difficult process for many. In the United States, over half a million Americans go homeless on any given single night. And about 35 percent of those people sleep unsheltered, on sidewalks, in parks, in abandoned buildings... Or in cars. For those of us who have a warm bed to sleep in every night, sleeping in our cars during a road trip can be a fun adventure. But for people who use their cars as shelter, life on the road can be dangerous and scary. Thankfully, there's one person trying to make things a little easier, WBTV reports.
A kind businessman who owns a car dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina has offered his parking space for individuals living out of their cars temporarily. For those who do so, finding a parking space where they're legally allowed to park or won't be shooed away from can be difficult. James Charles, the owner of Kiplin Automotive Group, became aware of the problem when his team went out to repossess a car that a woman had purchased from them. However, they ultimately couldn't - because she was living in the car. "The gentleman who was repossessing the car said, ‘We can’t take the car, there’s somebody living in the car,'" Charles explained in an interview with WBTV.
Instead of walking away from the problem, Charles decided to take action. Therefore, he looked a shelter for her to live in. But he hit a stumbling block. Charles revealed, "Every place in Charlotte was full." So he put her up in a hotel for a few days, just until he could find a more permanent shelter solution for her. That is the moment the problem of homelessness really became apparent to the business owner. It reminded him of a time when his family was in a similar situation. After a rental fell through when he and his family first moved to Charlotte and they were homeless for a whole month. "The person who owned the house decided to sell it, and didn’t let us know,” Charles said. “There we were. Six kids and a dog, and no place to live.”
But learning about this woman's terrible experience moved him even further. He stated, "That was really the sign we took at that time and we realized, ‘You know what? This is something we need to be more involved in.’" That is why he is offering a space for other families. Unlike other, riskier parking spaces, his space has reliable security cameras and bright lights for safety. "I know what we can do right now, we have tons of space," he said. "And we know people are doing it. We know for a fact that people are living in their cars temporarily. You can come here. We will allow you to stay on our property, and of course, we’re going to help you find a place if we can." He hopes his open invitation will help families out of unsafe situations in the long term.