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(Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

An estimated 150 people have been living in tents outside uptown just east of Interstate 277 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to rat infestation in the area County officials this week gave an abrupt order to clear the encampments by Friday at 5 p.m

The county is providing temporary housing free for the next 90 days and other social services to homeless residents as it prepares to shut the camps down.

So how can we help?

Volunteer with Block Love CLT, founded by Deborah Woolard. Food donations are also accepted and the organization has an Amazon Wish List linked on its website, blockloveclt.org. Woolard’s group provides food daily to people living in the camp.

Donations can be made via cashapp at $blockloveclt. For more information, call 980-288-4895 or email team@blockloveclt.org.

Hire a person who needs a job and who has experienced homelessness. Roof Above and the Salvation Army offer help for prospective employers.

Roof Above can be reached at 704-334-3187 or visit roofabove.org. Call the Salvation Army in Charlotte at 704-348-2560, ext. 207, or visit salvationarmycarolinas.org/charlotte.

Landlords and property owners can help, too. Contact Harry Mack, with Socialserve, at 704-323-5540 or online at socialserve.com.

Provide supplies for those moving from the camp to a hotel. Hearts & Hands Food Pantry are putting together care kits and are in need of the following: Women’s feminine hygiene products, men & women socks, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, lotion, bottled water, cookies, chips. and Gatorade. Visit heartsandhandsfoodpantry.com or follow the organization on Instagram for information.

Food donations to Loaves and Fishes are distributed to people who need help. Call 704-523-4333 or visit loavesandfishes.org.

Clothing can be dropped off at Goodwill donation centers. and Meals are prepared and served at Salvation Army shelters.