Homeless deaths nearly triple in Charlotte in 2017

Twenty-eight homeless people have died in Charlotte this year. That is nearly triple the amount from 2016. Mourners held a vigil for the lives lost on Thursday. 

Some advocates for homeless people say a growing Queen City is partially to blame.
Along busy North Caldwell Street in Optimist Park you will see construction of new, flashy apartments.

If you look closely just across the street in the woods nearby, you'll find those without a home. Each have their own story of survival.

"I was almost raped and murdered by a friend that I knew. I thought he was my friend," said one woman speaking at a candlelight vigil Thursday night.

That woman is considered one of the lucky ones. She's now a survivor, living in her own home.

"The number of people experiencing homelessness who died this year has nearly tripled," said the Executive Director of the Men's Shelter of Charlotte, Liz Clansen-Kelly.

More than 28 names of homeless people who died this year were read out loud Thursday night at a candlelight vigil. Countless died from cancer or heart disease. Others simply struggled trying to make ends meet.

"I was working with one man, he was running late to work and ran across the street and got hit by a car when he was trying to catch the bus," said Clansen-Kelly.

Mecklenburg County officials are still looking for a link as to why this year there was a sudden spike in homeless deaths. Advocates for homeless people say a move to more affordable housing, could go a long way.

"We know in our community that rents are going up and wages aren't," said Clansen-Kelly.

The City of Charlotte is on track to build 5,000 affordable housing units in 3 years. The average rent in Charlotte currently sits at $1,073.