The group of people that appeared to living on the sidewalk in downtown Greensboro next to Center City Park, should have a roof over their heads tonight.
The group which was in fact two families living in one car near the park, had pretty much set up camp on the sidewalk between Center City Park and North Elm Street. The park is designed to be a good place to hang out with benches and chairs and this group had made themselves at home causing some consternation for people who live or work downtown.
City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) said she got a call from the Greensboro Police Department Friday morning asking if she could help because the police had received several calls about the group camped out on the sidewalk.
The IRC is a day center providing services for people experiencing homelessness, but not a shelter. Kennedy said it was fortunate that she had a team available that could go and assess the situation.
Kennedy said, “Once we identified that there were children involved it became a priority for us and we were glad to be able to help particularly because of the children.”
Kennedy said that the families weren’t camped out on the sidewalk as had been reported. She said, “They were actually living out of a car parked at the edge of the park.”
She said that after the initial contact, two members of the group had come to a job fare at the IRC and that the IRC was able to get them in touch with services who could provide shelter for the two families.
City Councilmember Justin Outling who works in a building adjacent to Center City Park said that he had also been called about the group camping in front of the park and he said the response to provide services for the group was slowed because of a jurisdictional question. Outling said the question was, “Who is responsible for the management of that area? Is it under the management of GDPI [Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc]?”
Outling said, “If people are in need of services. We want to make sure that people are provided those services.”
He said the question about who was in charge, held up providing services to this group and “It would be helpful to have some clarity.”