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A plan to give homeless veterans a place to call home

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Foundation for the Carolinas and the city of Charlotte are teaming up to fight homelessness in Charlotte.  On any given night there are about 3,000 people sleeping out on the streets in the Queen City. 

"I think we will really end homelessness in Charlotte," Foundation for the Carolinas Brian Collier said. "In the next 5-10 years and it's programs like this that will make that happen."

The newly created program will establish a $20 million endowment. The earnings from the endowment will be used to offer rent assistance to homeless people who fit into a category that is often forgotten. 

"One group that sort of been left behind are families." Collier said. "And returning veterans, those who have served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan."

$16 million has already been raised.  The city offered $10 million over the next five years. The rest of the money came from the community - $4 million more to go. The earnings of the endowment could reach $1 million a year. 

"Creating a permanent endowment," Collier said. "Meaning this will be here forever and ever, hopefully."

The plan is to offer assistance to working homeless families or veterans.  The program will use the money from the earnings to help applicants with their rent for one to two years, then after two years, the families should be on their own.  

"In reality," Collier said. "If we serve 100 families that is probably at least four people within that family and we looking at 400 people.  When you think about the group of people we are hoping to help with this particular program, we think this will make a dent in making sure eventually every citizen in this community has a safe place to live and call home."

The program should be up and running as early as this summer. 

"It could be one of the most unique proposal initiative in the whole country." Collier said.

There are some risks to this plan.  Collier realizes there won't be success for all the homeless people who will participate in this program and he knows people may not donate to this initiative.  

"Certainly there are a lot of things in our community," Collier said. "That are equally as important."

Collier is excited about this program and hopes it will be a model that works so other communities can do the same. 

WBTV's Dedrick Russell will have much more on this story on WBTV News at 6.

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