For at least the past several years homeless people have been allowed to occupy areas at night around city hall in downtown Greensboro.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, Interim City Manager Chris Wilson sent out an email to city employees announcing that people would no longer be allowed occupy the ‘immediate premises’ of our buildings.”

Wilson states in the email, “Over the past several months you may have noticed that a number of residents experiencing homelessness have been utilizing the areas immediately surrounding City Hall.  While we recognize that homelessness is a serious issue both in our community and around the country, we have received a number of complaints and we recognize that some of the use of our surrounding facility is unacceptable, to include discarding human waste and other hazardous items that present a safety risk to you all as employees and to the public.”

Wilson also states, “In response to your concerns and complaints, which are valid, you will soon see noticeable changes intended to address the unacceptable uses of City property.  First, we will post signage indicating that items left on City property will be removed from our premises. Likewise, you will see an increase in security measures designed to educate those on City premises about appropriate usage of the areas immediately surrounding City property.  Finally, and only where warranted, you will see enforcement of any applicable City ordinances or state laws designed to stop any persisting unacceptable uses and/or interactions.”

Many who frequent city hall have noticed that during the day sleeping bags and other items left under exterior stairwells and in other exterior areas that are protected from the elements.  According to Wilson’s email this will no longer be tolerated.

Business owners downtown have complained for years about homeless people living in their doorways at night and about the same issues with “human waste and other hazardous items” that are be left behind.

With the city making the decision to enforce “any applicable City ordinances or state laws” that prohibit this kind of activity on municipal property, perhaps the city will extend similar enforcement efforts toward private property.