Throwing the agenda out the window, Councilmember Michelle Kennedy brought up two new affordable housing initiatives at the Greensboro City Council Work Session on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Councilmembers have an extremely difficult time getting an item on a work session agenda. Much is promised but rarely is anything delivered.

Kennedy paid no attention to the agenda but presented two ideas for new affordable housing after the lone agenda item, a report from Greensboro’s lobbyist, was finished.

First, Kennedy suggested that the city take the city-owned building on Maple Street, which is currently being used as the headquarters for the Parks and Recreation Department, and convert the building to permanent supportive housing.

Permanent supportive housing combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people.

Kennedy said that the location on Maple Street, the old Cone Mills Corporate offices, is close to the Department of Social Services, on a bus line, near a lot of employment opportunities and right across the street from a police substation, making it an ideal location.

City Manager David Parrish said they were talking to Cone Health, the Salvation Army and other potential providers.

Kennedy said, “It’s a good way for us to address the needs a fairly large number of people.”

She said that since many of those being served have mental health and substance abuse issues, she did not see this as a site for families, but that providing housing and services at one location would free up a lot of money.

Kennedy suggested the City Council make a decision on moving forward with the idea in December. There was no estimate of cost.

And Kennedy wasn’t through. She also suggested that the city consider selling the air rights to future city buildings to affordable housing providers that would allow them to build affordable housing units on top of the city facility.

Kennedy said that the plans for the new Vance-Chavis Library and Windsor Recreation Center would be an ideal location for such an effort. Kennedy said it would take the land cost out of building affordable housing.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “I think the library idea is kind of cool.”