Moved in February 2012
Justin moved to Charlotte for a job in 2007 and was laid off in 2008 after the branch of the company he worked for closed down. For a while he got by working temp jobs, but eventually those dried up as well. He sold his car, his furniture- everything. Eventually had to give up the last thing he had been holding onto, his apartment. Justin was homeless for about 4 years. He spent most of that time living in the men’s shelter, although he also found himself sleeping “in some pretty strange places from time to time.”
About 5 years ago, Justin moved into Moore Place as one of the first 10 residents. The change in living situation brought about a lot of other changes as well. When he was homeless, Justin suffered from a number of health issues. He was diagnosed as a diabetic, and later diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Since his move these issues have been easier to manage and he has seen a major improvement in his quality of life. Being housed has also given Justin a greater capacity to share his gifts and passions with the community. Justin is always cognizant of the fact “that there are people out there who need homes.” Through advocacy work Justin actively works to change the situations of those experiencing homelessness in Charlotte.
Justin is a leader of the group Helping Homeless to Housing (HHH). Justin explains that HHH “started out as a group of homeless individuals that were getting other homeless individuals registered to vote. And after several years, they started taking on other volunteer opportunities and advocacy work.” The organization has taken on public speaking engagements and weighed in on public policy. They host a forum every year and spend a lot of time with our elected officials.
Justin and others speak in various places including schools, universities, and churches to “create awareness around what the face of homelessness is like here in Charlotte,” leveraging their unique personal histories as a means to diffuse misconceptions. HHH has also not lost sight of its original mission of getting out the vote. “I think right now in this building, probably 90% of the people in this building are registered to vote through our voter drives.” Justin is also an appointed member of the Housing Advisory Board, where he provides perspective and insight from personal experience.
Justin is a striking example of how an individual, when given basic resources, can motivate change. Using his unique perspective, Justin helps to educate others about homelessness. However, Justin stresses that community involvement is absolutely essential in ending homelessness. Join Justin in the fight for a Charlotte where everyone has a home.