Just like any other used-car lot, during the day Kiplin Automotive Group sells cars. But as night falls, manager James Charles turns on the lights and transforms the dealership into a haven for those who are homeless and living in their cars. With its well-lit lot, security cameras and welcome invitation, the dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers homeless men, women and families a safe place to park overnight, without worrying if they are trespassing or breaking the law.
Since Charles first posted his invitation on January 23, about 20 families have parked their cars in his lot. Some stay for just one night. Others come back every night for weeks. As word spread about Kiplin Auto and the work Charles is doing, donations of hats, coats, blankets and even a port-a-potty came in. But when folks started sending money, he started a non-profit organization called HALO which has raised over $17,000. He uses the money to pay the security deposit and first month's rent to help those living in cars get back into apartments.
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