The former head of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte has resurfaced as the new executive director of the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation in Mount Holly.
Carson Dean will work to promote downtown revitalization and economic development for the town of about of 14,000 people. The organization has been largely run by a volunteer board.
“The idea of being part of a small organization was a big attraction to me,” said Dean. “It’s a small community, but it’s got wonderful history and a lot of unique charm to it. I look at it as a fun way to contribute to the improvement of the qualify of life in a great town.”
Among the projects the foundation is at work on is the creation of a greenway system for Mount Holly. That project is currently in the planning stages, and Dean will be in charge of launching a fundraising campaign.
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Dean surprised many in the Charlotte community when he announced in early February that he was stepping down as the head of Charlotte’s biggest emergency shelter for homeless men.
He headed the agency for eight years, a period during which Dean introduced a series of programs aimed at getting men out of homelessness more quickly. This included hiring staff to help men apply for benefits that could be used to pay rent on housing.
In cases where men didn't qualify for benefits, Dean started classes to help them apply for jobs. He also instituted a diversion program that finds an alternative place for homeless men to stay, including placing them in the homes of relatives.
Dean was considered one of the state’s leading advocates for trying to end homelessness, an issue that has grown more troublesome in Charlotte as developers have pushed out of uptown into surrounding areas populated by homeless people.
Dean moved to Mount Holly two months ago with his wife, Molly Huffstetler Dean, who is originally from Mount Holly, he said.
The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte has not yet announced who will replace Dean as executive director of the agency.