CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — A former tent city resident is now a tent city success story.
Prince Harvill started out on the streets, was housed in the hotels provided by Mecklenburg County, and now has a place of his own just in time for the holidays.
Once residents were evicted from Tent City because of a rat infestation, Harvill had no idea what came next.
“Kind of wondering, you know, where I’m gonna go or not trying to go back where I came from,” Harvill said.
Harvill had been chronically homeless for 13 years. He was glad Mecklenburg County offered to pay for hotels for the tent city residents.
“When they did offer, it was kind of a relief. And you know, still more wondering, you know, like, how’s this going to be? Which was next?” Harvill said.
What came next for Harvill was something he hadn’t done in a long time.
“It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay. There are people there, there are organizations there to help. And it is okay to trust somebody,” Harvill said.
The help came in many forms: a meal, classes, counseling, re-entry services, and more.
“The atmosphere of love was provided. And then that allowed me to love myself,” Harvill said.
Now, Harvill is working full-time and taking classes on the side.
“Going forward, now that I am in a place where I do love myself, I do have dreams and aspirations. And I hope to one day open up a food truck. I’m actually scheduled to begin culinary classes at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte,” he said.
Bethany McDonald, with Hearts Beat as One, has been working with Harvill since he was living in the hotels. She’s seen the changes in him and has loved watching him grow and succeed.
“Just look in his eyes, to watch his progression. And again, it was all in his eyes. His body language, his attitude as he started to gain confidence. And like he said, he started to love himself. And he started to listen to what we were telling him. And knowing that strangers or people that have just known him this little bit of time, believe in him and literally love him unconditionally, like that. That clicked with him,” McDonald said.
Harvill is looking forward to spending the holidays with his son.
“I didn’t get to spend as much time with my family as I like. But this year, I hope to come and show them the new me, make them proud,” Harvill said.