The Greensboro City Council voted unanimously to allocate an additional $100,000 to provide hotel rooms for the homeless at the Tuesday, Dec. 5 meeting.
From the vote it would appear the members of the City Council were in complete agreement on joining with Guilford County and High Point, each having agreed to allocate $100,000. Despite voting in favor of the allocation, Councilmember Zack Matheny, whose day job is president and CEO of Downtown Greensboro Inc., had a lot to say about “throwing another hundred grand” at the homeless issue.
Matheny called it “another Band-Aid” and said the City Council needed a strategic approach to housing people who need shelter.
Matheny said that he attended the meeting where the decision was made for Guilford County, High Point and Greensboro to each allocate $100,000 for hotel rooms and that there was no planning, just a conversation where representatives of each entity said they’d put in $100,000 if everybody else did.
Matheny said, “I mean, folks, a year and a half and last week it was like, what, 14 degrees and we’ve been talking about this for a year and a half and the best response we can come up with is let’s just put another hundred grand toward a Band-Aid. It’s embarrassing.”
Matheny said that it would make a lot more sense to rent back the Regency Inn, which the city is in the process of selling, and house people there. Matheny noted that the Regency Inn has been vacant since the city “kicked people out in March,” and that rather than spending $100,000 to house people for about 28 days it would make more sense to use the Regency.
In November 2021, the City Council loaned Partnership Homes $3 million to purchase the Regency, which was supposed to be renovated to provide permanent supportive housing, but the city used it as a winter shelter until the renovation could take place. That deal fell through when Partnership Homes was unable to acquire the $10 million needed for renovation and the city is in the process of contracting with Sept Up on Second Inc. to use the facility for permanent supportive housing, but according to Matheny the facility is currently vacant.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the Regency had building code issues and would not meet code right now.
Matheny’s response was to find the money to make the necessary repairs. He said, “We can find the money. We always do.”