Off Brookshire Boulevard, In Charlotte, James Charles is selling cars. He is also thinking about people who are using them for more than transportation, like one woman, whose purchase his team went out to repossess.
“The gentleman who was repossessing the car said, ‘We can’t take the car, there’s somebody living in the car,’” Charles, manager at Kiplin Automotive Group says.
He looked for a shelter for her to stay.
“Every place in Charlotte was full,” Charles says.
So he put her up in a hotel for a few nights, until she had a more permanent solution.
“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.’”
It made the manager think about the time his family was in a similar situation. A rental fell through when they first moved to Charlotte, and they were homeless for 30 days.
“The person who owned the house decided to sell it, and didn’t let us know,” Charles says.
“There we were. Six kids and a dog, and no place to live.”
He is now offering space for other families, with security cameras, bright lights and an open invitation.
“I know what we can do right now, we have tons of space,” he says. “And we know people are doing it. We know for a fact that people are living in their cars temporarily.”
He wants to help families long term, out of unsafe situations.
“You can come here,” he says. “We will allow you to stay on our property, and of course, we’re going to help you find a place if we can.”