James Charles is the manager at Kiplin Automotive Group, one of his workers was going out to repossess a vehicle that they had sold to a woman some months prior. The worker called Charles and told him, “we can’t repossess that car someone is living in that car.” When Charles heard about that family living in the vehicle it immediately reminded him of a time when he was in a similar situation. He remembered when he moved to Charlotte and the owners of the home he was renting sold the house without informing him and his family that they had done so, it left Charles and his family homeless for 30 days.
Initially, he looked for a shelter for the woman to go to but they were all to capacity so he put her in a hotel for a few nights until she had somewhere to go for a while longer. It was at that moment Charles realized he needed to be involved more in helping with a problem that’s more common than people think, which is people living in their vehicles.
Now he is offering people who are living in their cars to come to park them at his lot at night. “I know what we can do right now, we have tons of space,” he says. “And we know people are doing it. We know for a fact that people are living in their cars temporarily.” He wants to help families long term, out of unsafe situations.
“You can come here,” he says. “We will allow you to stay on our property, and of course, we’re going to help you find a place if we can.”