Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston – one of the leaders in the effort to end homelessness in Guilford County – said this week that progress is being made, but that things are going slower than he had hoped.
He reiterated something he’s stated in the past – that the problem is one of the greatest challenges facing Guilford County and it’s one that will require an “all hands on deck” approach.
One of Alston’s publicly stated goals in early 2023 was for there to be sufficient facilities and programs to assure that no county resident had to remain on the streets once the weather turned cold toward the end of 2023. That essentially created a de facto deadline of October 31 for getting significant measures in place – and Alston admitted that some of those solutions make take longer than he would like.
However, he’s quick to add that things are going well over all.
He said that a lot of different partners – like community groups and other local governments working on the same problem – are attempting to come together on a set strategy.
“It’s going good but there are different ideas and approaches,“ Alston told the Rhino Times on Monday, Aug. 7.
“We have a meeting next month,” Alston said of the county’s taskforce to address homelessness, which has a great many members.
In mid-May of this year, Guilford County Board of Commissioners a voted unanimously to spend $100,000 to purchase Erwin Montessori School on Bessemer Avenue in Greensboro. They’ve acknowledged that the building will be used in some way to address the problem of homelessness in the county but, as of yet, they are not sure how.
He said he and other county commissioners had been in discussions with those who live near the school to hear some of their concerns.
“It will not be a homeless shelter” Alston said, adding that it could be a place where programs and services for the homeless emanate from. However, he reiterated that the nature of the operations are still up in the air.
Alston said one good thing about the fight is that cities and towns have been engaging in big moves and big projects to address the problem as well.
The county doesn’t always work well with the cities of Greensboro and High Point – and the towns – though in this effort everyone seems to be largely on the same page in terms of realizing the scale and the importance of the problem in Guilford County.