Program Update: Lotus Housing Pilot is a major success for RW Team

Since 2012, RunningWorks has been dedicated to the cause of reducing homelessness in our community.

We have seen firsthand how the need for more affordable housing in Charlotte has reached a critical level as housing costs continue to outpace wages for low-income renters.

According to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a person earning minimum wage would have to work 103 hours a week just afford a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

This means many low-wage workers find themselves choosing between paying for rent, healthcare, food, childcare and other basic necessities. This leaves many families food insecure, with untreated medical conditions and ultimately homeless.

As the city and county work to grapple with the issue of homelessness in our community, RunningWorks is working with other local nonprofits, individual supporters, foundations and members of the private sector to come up with solutions.

Earlier this year, we proudly announced the launch of the Lotus Housing Pilot Presented by RunningWorks. This new initiative is helping to provide direct access to housing for neighbors in need.

Our goal is to help at least 30 individuals transition out of homelessness into permanent housing each year. To date, 18 individuals have made the transition and moved into their new homes, and as funding permits, we are on track to help 12 more before the year ends.

The program began in April when RunningWorks partnered with The Lotus Campaign to secure rental units in multiple apartment complexes in the Charlotte area under their Landlord Participation Program. This innovative program is designed to address the issue of homelessness by facilitating a landlord’s ability to make residential rental units more widely available to those in need.

Under this agreement, RunningWorks serves as a “Sponsoring Organization.” Our role is to identify team members who are ready for placement in a rental home and provide the social services necessary to make the placement a success.

The Lotus Campaign provides the funding required to facilitate the initial placement, and RunningWorks continues to work with each sponsored resident for a minimum of one year to provide rental assistance (on a sliding scale as needed) and additional supportive services to help each tenant reach their goals for health, education, employment and self sufficiency.

Participants of the Lotus Housing Pilot Presented by RunningWorks are provided access to transportation, mental health counseling, career development, health and wellness programs, financial literacy education and more.

Not only does this innovative approach to addressing homelessness in our community improve the overall quality of life for participating individuals and families, the program also helps the community save money as whole. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development it can cost upwards of $40,000 to care for a homeless person on the street. Through the RunningWorks Housing Program, the cost to house that same person for a year and provide supportive services is less than $8,000.

Community Support

Since launching our new housing initiatives, RunningWorks has been fortunate to have community partners help make the transition out of homelessness as smooth as possible for team members.

Our friends at Family Dollar stepped up in a major way by partnering with the Colgate-Palmolive Company along with Georgia Pacific to provide move-in kits consisting of cleaning supplies, toiletries and other household items.

We are thankful for their generosity and for our friends at Hype Fitness who helped facilitate this new community partnership. To donate gently used furniture and other household items, please contact us at (980) 500-8RUN or email info@runningworks.org.