The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte Receives $3.75 Million from Bezos Day 1 Families Fund

By: Brent Rinehart

The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, a leader in providing solutions for families experiencing homelessness through its Center of Hope shelter and housing programs, has received a $3.75 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. Grants from the fund founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos are annually awarded to organizations doing compassionate, needle-moving work to help families experiencing homelessness secure housing and achieve stability. This grant will build on the $5 million the Day 1 Families Fund awarded The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte in 2018.

“The overarching goal of our work is that family homelessness in Charlotte should be rare, brief and non-recurring,” said Major Jason Burns, area commander for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “This investment from the Day 1 Families Fund will allow us to expedite our growth plans and impact even more families in need in our community, reaching them at or before the point of crisis and helping them to find stability.”

This one-time, uniquely flexible grant will support The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte in serving as a critical lifeline to families experiencing homelessness, who represent more than a quarter of the homeless population nationally. The plan is to use the grant to expand diversion and outreach programs, grow counseling and employment services, and create a flexible fund for short-term assistance. In addition, funds will help to renovate a recently purchased hotel now called Booth Commons, a non-congregate shelter program with individual efficiency units able to house different family makeups.

Several Salvation Army corps and area commands have been recipients of this compassionate grant since its creation in 2018. Additional and past Southern Territorial recipients include:

  • 2023: Fort Myers Area Command Fort Myers, FL ($2.5m)
  • 2020: Austin Area Command Austin, TX ($2.5m)
  • 2018: Charlotte Center of Hope Charlotte, NC ($5m); Greater Houston Houston, TX ($5m)

People Magazine picked up this story, speaking with Deronda Metz, director of social services for the Charlotte Center of Hope. “What a great commitment,” Deronda said about receiving the grant. “What a great way to invest your funds, making sure that somebody have a basic need and something so important as a roof and shelter over their head.”

Deronda told People that some of the funds from the original grant in 2018 went toward opening a Boys and Girls Club within the Center of Hope, which will now be able to expand to include a teen center. “What we do with our children that are homeless is vital and very important.” The $5 million received in 2018 also allowed the Army to hire two case managers for the Center of Hope “to help us decrease the time that people were in shelter,” Deronda explained. “Those flexible dollars really helped us to be able to raise the rate that we were moving people out of housing.”

For more information on the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund and past recipients, click here.