ImmigrationNews & Opinion

Charlotte is Home Center to Provide Services to Immigrant, Refugee Communities

Facility set to open in east Charlotte this summer

Community members gather at what will soon be the Charlotte is Home Center in east Charlotte on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Carolina Migrant Network)

Community leaders with Aldersgate, ourBRIDGE for KIDS, Charlotte Community Health Clinic, and Carolina Migrant Network came together on April 12 to kick off construction at the future site of the Charlotte is Home Center, a first-of-its-kind facility in the region that will offer low-cost health services, pro-bono immigration legal services, civic engagement programming, educational resources and other wraparound services to the local refugee and immigrant communities in east Charlotte. 

The Charlotte is Home Center will operate as a satellite center of the Charlotte Community Health Clinic (CCHC), which opened in 2000 as a free clinic following founder Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown’s vision for accessible health care in Charlotte. Garmon-Brown passed away in 2021 after a battle with cancer. 

Today, CCHC has its original clinic in University City plus an urgent care facility on Central Avenue and a free clinic that includes a dental clinic in the Goodwill Opportunity Campus in west Charlotte. The new clinic, located on Aldersgate’s property on east Charlotte, will be named the Ophelia Garmon-Brown Medical Clinic to honor her work and dedication to health care accessibility in Charlotte. 

Four people in safety vests hold a large hammer in front of the door at what will soon be the new Charlotte is Home Center
Carolyn Allison (second from left) with Becca O’Neill (second from right), and Sil Ganzo (far right) at Friday’s event. (Photo courtesy of Carolina Migrant Network)

“This is our third satellite that we’re building out this year and we’re very excited about all the growth that’s happening with us,” said Carolyn Allison, CEO of CCHC, at Friday’s press conference. “More importantly, we’re very excited that this opportunity will allow us to provide primary care, behavioral health and also dental services to an underserved population.”

ourBRIDGE for Kids moved onto the Aldersgate campus in 2017, then brought Refugee Support Services into its building in 2022. The new center will be located in the existing Aldersgate headquarters, with Aldersgate charging $1 a year for the three participating organizations to lease the half of the building that is currently empty. 

Construction will be funded in part by grants from US Housing and Urban Development, secured with the help of US Rep. Alma Adams. 

Carolina Migrant Network (CMN), which provides legal services to individuals detained by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and neighbors who are not detained but live in the community and are undergoing removal proceedings, will also operate out of the center.

Learn more: Nooze Hounds: Carolina Migrant Network Reshapes the Narrative 

Founded in 2019, CMN merged with local advocacy organization Comunidad Colectiva in 2022, expanding their services. At Friday’s event, co-director Becca O’Neill said this is a chance to collaborate further with other organizations that serve the same communities as CMN. 

“I really see this moment as historical for not only Charlotte but really on a national level,” she said. “We have excellent community-based health care services, child care and afterschool services, and immigration legal services all combined, coming together in the same space, which is something we’re told over and over again by communities is something they need.”

The Charlotte is Home Center is located at 3400 Shamrock Drive, with construction set to be completed by July 8. 

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