Rain-damaged Hope Haven pleads for help

The state's lone residential drug-treatment center for the homeless asked for donations on Friday, two days after heavy rains flooded its northern Charlotte building.

Hope Haven, which houses recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, evacuated at least 20 residents earlier this week, President and CEO Alice Harrison said at a press conference.

About 150 homeless individuals and families live in the former motel about three miles north of uptown on North Tryon Street. They receive counseling and job training and attend support group meetings there.

Rain damaged 52 rooms, soaking carpets, beds, computer equipment and personal belongings. Officials scrambled to find places for residents to stay.

On Friday, residents in treatment were doubled up in rooms with other clients living on the second floor of the two-story building, Harrison said.

A storm drain problem at a neighboring property pushed rain water into the first-floor rooms, Harrison said. A resident said the water was three inches deep in some rooms.

“I was sitting in my office when I just felt my ankles getting wet,” said Tiffany Hilson, director of development.

Officials said an insurance policy will cover part of the recovery cost, but Harrison said “tens of thousands of dollars” will be needed for beds, dressers, carpets and other needs.

Computer problems were so extensive that workers were forced to complete payroll by hand, she said.

Resident Dudley Lovett expressed concerned for the facility's future as he pleaded for the public's help. Lovett, a recovering alcoholic, said he has lived there for six months.

“If we lose this place, there's no place we can go,” he said.