Local GovernmentNews & Opinion

People’s Budget Coalition Releases Requests for Coming City Budget

Partnership between 16 local community call for reform, more investment in housing

Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, Charlotte UDO, People's Budget Coalition
A coalition of community organizations has released its proposals for what to include in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 city budget. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

A wide-ranging coalition of 16 community organizations released its proposal for the Fiscal Year 2025 City of Charlotte budget on Sunday, calling for criminal justice reform, better pay for city workers and a $100-million investment in housing.

Comprising local advocacy groups, faith leaders, service providers, community organizations and concerned citizens working toward “a people-first vision” for Charlotte, the People’s Budget Coalition released a list of core demands for the city to consider in putting together the FY2025 budget. 

The demands are rooted in three principles, listed here directly as worded in Sunday’s release:  

  • A community for everyone. We believe that everyone should be able to live with stability and dignity in our community. All Charlotteans should have access to housing, livelihood, and resources to thrive. We reject the notion that only the wealthy and developers can thrive here.
  • Resources, not criminalization. Neither punishment nor neglect is an appropriate response to people’s needs. We reject using the criminal legal system as a solution to social and systemic ills. We believe that our collective local social safety net must be strengthened.
  • We can do hard things. We believe that an expansive vision and willingness to do bold things is necessary to address the root causes of our city’s problems.

The coalition requests Charlotte support its stated goal for “holistic solutions” by focusing on three points: great neighborhoods, safe communities and a well-managed government.

Great Neighborhoods

The People’s Budget Coalition (PBC) is requesting the city increase the Housing Trust Fund to $100 million, double the current fund of $50 million and double the increase already proposed by the city from $50 million to $75 million. 

The PBC suggests using the additional $25 million from the $100 million to fund programming that will help pave a path to home ownership, specifically in neighborhoods where residents are at risk of displacement. 

This would be carried out by acquiring land for use by organizations such as the West Side Community Land Trust to create and maintain affordable home ownership, building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for seniors on their property to rent out for additional income, and developing direct grants to build ADUs for homeowners in danger of losing their homes.

Other requests under the Great Neighborhoods platform include funding for non-congregate emergency shelter that focuses on unsheltered people who are resistant to traditional emergency shelters, the creation and implementation of a pre-approved housing plan for city property lots similar to the city of Kalamazoo’s plan, and an increase in funding for Crisis Assistance Ministries’ Energy Assistance and Emergency Rental Payment Assistance programs, among others. 

Safe Communities

Sunday’s PBC release proposes an increase in funding for CMPD’s Civilian Assistance Response Engage Support (CARES) program to extend hours of operation, staffing and available working days.

CMPD has recently restated its commitment to expanding the CARES program, which deploys licensed social workers to respond to low-level calls for service instead of police officers.  

The coalition also requests continued funding to the Alternatives to Violence program on Beatties Ford Road and the implementation of a new partnership with the Mecklenburg County Public Health Office of Violence Prevention to establish Youth Violence Prevention Centers (YVPCs).

Launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Violence Prevention Centers are described as “academic-community collaborations that advance the science and practice of youth violence prevention … [by] developing, implementing, and rigorously evaluating innovative strategies to prevent violence and create safer, healthier family and community environments for youth.” 

The release also requests $34,000 for the Save Our Children Movement and the KEFA Academy Tutoring & Mentoring program for 8-to-12-year-olds in west Charlotte.

Well-Managed Government

Sunday’s proposal cited a 2022 report by the Economic Policy Institute that found 75% of city workers could not afford to raise a child on their annual salary. 

The coalition suggested that the city raise the minimum wage for City of Charlotte employees to $25 an hour with a 6% raise for city workers and a 4% contribution to their 401K. 

These steps would combat the increased cost of living in Charlotte and help city employees plan for retirement, similarly to CMPD and Charlotte Fire Department employees, according to the proposal. 

“We believe in care, dignity, and justice, and seek a budget that provides for everyone while centering those too often left behind or out,” read Sunday’s release. “We believe that advocating as a collective voice will help set the agenda for local government to better meet the needs of the community and deliver better outcomes for everyone.” 

Organizations that signed onto Sunday’s proposal include the following: OneMECK, Roof Above, UE Local 150 Charlotte NC Public Service Workers Union, Block Love CLT, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Homeless Services Network (HSN), Heal Charlotte, QC Family Tree, Save Our Children Movement, Charlotte Justice Conference, WZA Consultants, Little Listeners, Voice 4 the People, Winners Plus Inc, Locked Out Love, and Action NC.

Members of the People’s Budget Coalition have been in touch with the City Manager’s Office and will be scheduling visits with Charlotte City Council members in the coming weeks. In the meantime, they will engage with the community and city leaders by speaking at council’s biweekly public forums, producing video content to share their message on social media and publishing letters to editors at different media outlets around the city.

Charlotte City Council is expected to adopt the Fiscal Year 2025 budget by June 30, with a public hearing on the proposed budget scheduled for May 13.

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