GREENSBORO, N.C. — As we deal with freezing conditions this week, Greensboro city council is stepping up efforts to help the homeless.
It approved nearly a million dollars tonight to pay for pallet homes, housing the homeless in hotels, and even safe parking for people who live in their cars.
City council members passed a total of $898 thousand for these winter sheltering projects but not without a lot of debate and questions about how these programs will work.
You'll remember the city proposed buying pallet shelters to house the homeless during the winter. Those are slated to be put on city-owned property, which will also offer space for people who live in their cars to park safely overnight.
The city is also opening the old Regency Inn as a shelter.
The funding will go towards security and services at those sites. City leaders are eager to get these programs off the ground within the next few weeks but the council learned Tuesday that those pallet homes have not been purchased yet and will be fewer than planned.
City Manager, Taiwo Jaiyeoba said, "You approved us for up to 40 but based on requirements that number has to come down to 30 because they are requiring 20 feet of spacing between each shelter."
Some city council members voiced concerns about these plans and whether they can be executed on such a tight timeline.
City Council member Sharon Hightower said, “We really should have explored this a lot more. I have said earlier, I just don't think there's a solid plan here."
"We've decreased the number of people we're going to be able to help. That should have been a red flag to the city before we shove these pallet homes and put money into something that may or may not actually happen, what other things have we done that could have been more permanent?”
The city council approved the money for all of these projects. Half will go to Greensboro urban ministry, the other half will go to the Interactive Resource Center. Both of which are partnering with the city to get these projects going.
As for those pallet homes, the city manager says that once purchased, they should arrive within two to three weeks.