For a fleeting moment, it appeared that sanity would prevail at the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber – but the moment passed.
Four people spoke against allocating the $777,000 in homeless prevention funds to the same old nonprofit organizations that have been receiving this funding for years.
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said she agreed with some of the points the speakers had made and said, “One of those is how do we ensure that these organizations that are providing beds and shelter are actually providing the beds and shelter we think they are?”
Thurm said that she understood the shelters were still operating at 50 percent capacity as they had during COVID-19 restrictions.
Director of the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development Michelle Kennedy said, “That is true, the shelters in the city limits are operating at 50 percent capacity.”
Thurm said, “It feels like we are leaving those with the highest level of needs on the street.”
She said that she had been told one organization only housed one family last year.
City Councilmember Zack Matheny said, “The more I’ve gotten up to date the last two months and more knowledgeable about this whole problem the more disappointed and concerned I’ve become, and it’s been eye-opening about what a cluster it is.”
Matheny said, “We’ve got to hold folks accountable.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “Since the last meeting when we voted to buy the pop-up shelters, there has been just a lot of talk, a lot of questions, and I’ve become really concerned about it because some of these are operating at 50 percent.”
Wells asked, “Should we be giving money to people who aren’t doing what they are supposed to do?”
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said, “Tammi, thank you. We need to really look at this. I know some of them are not even housing people and we say housing is our top priority.”
Johnson added, “I would not want to vote on this tonight. I’d like to hear from the CEOs.”
However, Mayor Nancy Vaughan quashed the idea of not approving the allocations. She noted that the allocations had been on the agenda in August and were delayed because the city was hoping to partner with Guilford County.
She said that there was a freeze warning and said, “We really can’t put this off any further. We have to move forward with shelters for people who are on the streets today that need housing for the winter.”
Wells said, “If you find out what you are doing is not the right thing then you just don’t go ahead and do it.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I, too, worry about not passing this tonight and those left out in the cold will be left out in the cold.”
Johnson said, “Although I would like to have more information, I’m not going to risk somebody freezing.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said that she knew the organizations did the work they were supposed to do because she talked with them on the phone.
The City Council passed the $777,000 in funding on two votes – an 8-1 vote with Matheny voting no and an 8-0 vote with Councilmember Hugh Holston recused.
“We have to pass this to find out what’s in it.” Sounds familiar to me. Since the shelters are only at 50% capacity, why doesn’t the city pay by occupants and actual usage? Thanks John.
“Councilmember Sharon Hightower said that she knew the organizations did the work they were supposed to do because she talked with them on the phone.”
Wow. Naive people shouldn’t be running governments.
Several years ago I worked at the city’s only (at the time) homeless shelter and food bank. I won’t name it because it has new leaders now, but when I was there, we routinely turned people away on cold nights and threw people out for minor rule violations. If a resident merely spoke up about conditions they could find themselves back on the street. This organization bragged about services they didn’t actually provide. Its food bank gave sugary donuts to diabetics. Clothes donations were thrown into the dumpster. It was a toxic place with leaders who claimed to be Christians but acted like demons. I pushed for changes and was asked to leave. The board members seemed clueless to what was going on, accepting whatever the director told them.
So, no, Ms Hightower, don’t believe what you’re being told. If you want the truth, talk to the people who are receiving services from these organizations and see if it matches what the directors are telling you they’re doing. You might be shocked at what you find out.
I tried my best to vote everyone of these people out , they sit there and give every reason not to give over $700,000 to the same tired ol people , even saying that the council has no idea where the money is going ! And our mayor’s reason is she just doesn’t want to look at this again so vote yes and get it out of the bank account. For EVERYONE that voted these idiots back into office , shame on you for dragging Greensboro further down in the manure pile. This is a great city, and with the new city manager and the cast from Beavis and Butt-head , it won’t be that way very long.
More Laurel and Hardy moments in local government.
Remember, you voted for them!
I didn’t vote for any of them. But east Greensboro runs this city. And developers. We are a liberal city due to the college atmosphere. It’s not going to change. This city council does not represent the middle class. You are either poverty level or wealthy and donating to these a-holes.
Is there a proposed site where the “pop-up shelters” will be located? Are we going to deliver and setup the shelters where the homeless request? My general thought is that if taxpayers make it too comfortable to live on the streets, why would anyone try to get off the streets. We are enabling people to live an unsustainable lifestyle. The shelters are not being utilized because they have rules like no alcohol or drug use.
That have zero plans. There is no site plan, no order into Duke to provide electricity, no temporary cut in permit for Duke to run electricity. NO PLANS. Those shelters will likely sit in a warehouse all winter. If it does get put up it will be a shanty town at best and a concentration camp at worst. These council members are the worst possible combination of corrupt and stipid!
The shelters aren’t being utilized because you can’t get into one. When I moved to Greensboro in 2017, I tried every shelter here as I was staying in my car. Six month waiting period, minimum. From people I’ve talked to, that hasn’t changed, if anything it’s worse now.
Are drugs a factor, sure, but far from the main issue.
It’s a top secret location, but it has to fit into a few criteria. The city probably already owns it or has the rights to use the land. It will not be in a highly populated area. It won’t be in a rich or up and coming area. It won’t be in a heavy use commercial area. So what’s that leave us with?
Hmm….American Hebrew Academy? No, that’s for the illegals. Downtown? No, that’s for people to poop in the street and beg money. IRC’s parking lot? No, Michelle won’t allow that. A city park? Maybe, but not one that’s heavily used. What about that old hotel the city just dumped a medium sized lottery win’s worth of money into? It has bathrooms, and electricity, a big fat empty parking lot, it’s out of the way, and nobody is using it. 2+2=4.
It’s going to be in the Regency Inn off of Highway 29 then.
According to my information, about 75% of the homeless are addicted to one drug or another. Before the pandemic, the addicted numbered about 1/3, 1/3 chose to be homeless, and 1/3 were between jobs.
More people have become addicted for several reasons, but the main reason is the deluge from across the southern border.
Offer the addicted two choices: rehab or jail. Throwing money at this problem is pure waste, as the result has shown.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
Vote for change between now and Nov. 8th.
Pitiful …all that money and you have no accountability…are you kidding me? At least one council member is not an idiot. Just keep on enabling.
“Just give them the money, and put aside all the concerns”. Greensboro City Council.
There speak people who are not spending their own money. It’s just so easy to spend other people’s money – and portray yourself as a saint.
Our city council-not a brain among them. But hey, it is not their money!
This information would appear to be just like national news, no one will hear about this that doesn’t read the Rhino.
Zack Matheny for Mayor!
We don’t have enough time for that. If Tami is going to speak up,, she also needs to fight for what she beleives in, quit caving in to the majority.
They fake speaking up-they already know how the vote will go. It is political theater.
If this money originated from the rebuild America rescue funding, it would require a plan and approval of the use, scheduled review and audits to verify positive results of the ffunding. An option to distribute funds in limited amounts, this would allow proof of value before releasing more money. The rules were in place to avoid deception, and to protect from this massive about of funds being misused. Yes, it takes extra work to audit and communicate with the awarded parties, there are employees in place to handle this extra duty. Is the City ignoring this federal requirement and did City council knowingly act to avoid these requirements by misdirecting the funds to their general fund so they can hand out money without required audits? Somehow this looks to be criminal. Hold them accountable . The council wasn’t required to control the dispersements, they requested to control it and failed. What is it going to take to hold councel members accountable, it can’t be just “vote them out” that takes 4 to 5 years. If they break a law or purposely avoid a federal requirement. There must be some personal responsibility. God help us if there isn’t.
It’s FUBAR as usual!
“Mayor Nancy Vaughan quashed the idea of not approving the allocations. She noted that the allocations had been on the agenda in August and were delayed because the city was hoping to partner with Guilford County”……so the short answer is, we have known this was coming and we knew it would be questioned, so we waited for the first freeze warning to push it through. Some things never change.
They are worried about someone freezing, but not the safety of the general population given the fact they aren’t alarmed by the Police Department’s high vacancy rate. I would never want anyone to freeze, but the crime rate is ridiculous and with the Police Department being at it’s current level of vacancies and lack of support from Council and lack of concern, it’s going to get worse. Someone gets shot in Greensboro almost every day – you only hear about it if it’s a fatality or if they are badly injured.