The Greensboro City Council discussed but didn’t approve several new initiatives to help the homeless population at the special meeting on Monday, Oct. 10.
The City Council only passed a motion to spend $535,000 to buy 40 Pallet Homes but appeared to support other new programs that were presented by Assistant City Manager Nasha McCray.
One of those was to provide a safe parking lot for 35 vehicles for homeless people living in their cars. The parking lot according to the report would be available from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Security and a bathroom facility that cost an estimated $100,000 would be provided.
According to the report, the safe parking option would free up “shelter space for individuals who may not have a vehicle in which to sleep.”
To qualify for the safe parking lot a person must be homeless and living in a vehicle and “must have a desire to move back into permanent housing and participate in programming to increase stability.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said that the hours needed to be extended because 6 a.m. was too early to force people to leave the parking lot. There was a discussion of extending the hours but did not appear to be any resolution.
The City Council also discussed using the old Regency Inn as a winter hotel shelter from November through March 2023 with Greensboro Urban Ministry providing case management and food.
In October 2021, the City Council voted to make a $3 million, no interest, forgivable loan to Partnership Homes Inc to purchase the Regency Inn at 2701 O. Henry Blvd. and turn it into permanent supportive housing. The $3 million was later raised to $3.3 million. The plan called for the facility to be used for emergency winter housing in 2021-2022.
The contract with Partnership Homes set the deadline for the estimated $13 million construction project to convert the facility to permanent supportive housing as June 30, 2022.
At the Monday, Oct. 10 special meeting, City Councilmember Zack Matheny said that he had sent City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba nine questions about the status of the Regency Inn project but had not received any answers.