Former homeless man turns car dealership into a shelter for the homeless to park and sleep overnight
via GoFundMe

People who are forced to live in their cars face many perils. One of the greatest dangers is finding a safe place to park at night.

Parking in a densely-populated area raises the chances of getting caught by the police and being told to "move along" in the middle of the night. But parking in an isolated are can be downright dangerous.

James Charles, the general manager of Kiplin Automotive Group in Charlotte, North Carolina, turned his car lot into a safe space for people experiencing homelessness by offering it up to people who sleep in their cars.

The lot is well lit and has security cameras to protect them while they sleep.

Charles announced the lot would be open to the homeless in a Facebook post.


"We know that some families are struggling and in a tough situation. Yea whole families sleeping in the car... We will provide a safe place to park at night. As this service to the community develops we will look to help these families in other ways but right now a safe place is what we can offer," Charles's post read.

Charles's dedication to help people experiencing homelessness comes from a very real place. Charles is the father of six and in 2015 they were forced to live in their car for over 90 days.

"In 2015, we were homeless, I'd like to say displaced, for 90 days," Charles told CNN. "We didn't have a place to live because (the owner) sold the house we were renting and we were unaware that it was being sold."

"We were living in hotels," he continued. "We were very close to staying at my own dealership a couple of nights because we could not find a hotel that was available... It was a tough time, a tough experience."

After word got out that the car lot was helping the unhoused, donations began to flood into the dealership. People donated hats, blankets, coats and even a port-a-potty.

via GoFundMe

Charles says the public's reaction has been "nuts."

"Hundreds of messages on our Facebook page, people saying thank you for what you're doing," he said according to The New York Post. "We've had an enormous amount of people responding, which lets me know people care about this issue tremendously."

Charles and his family started a GoFundMe campaign to help the people who parked in his lot at night. In just one month, it has already raised over $32,000. The campaign's success has led Charles to create a non-profit organization called HALO NOW.

HALO Now stands for Helping and Leading Others NOW.

HALO NOW will expand the parking project and looks to provide families experiencing homeless $2500 in assistance to help them rent an apartment.

"The reason why we set a goal to raise 250K is because we believe that the average family will need about $2500 in housing assistance and other resources," the GoFundMe page reads. "We anticipate that the $250K will cover the first 100 homeless families and individuals in need."

Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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