The City Council elected in 2017 was nothing if not indecisive.
Since eight of the nine members of that City Council were reelected on July 26, it appears the City of Greensboro is in for three more years of indecision.
At the Thursday, Sept. 1 work session, the City Council appeared to be supportive of proposed ordinance amendments that mainly deal with the homeless population in downtown Greensboro.
However, at the Tuesday, Sept. 6 meeting, City Councilmember Goldie Wells expressed a desire to put a hold on taking any action until those experiencing homelessness could be consulted.
Wells asked that a task force including people who are homeless be formed specifically to hear from the homeless about how the homeless issues could be solved.
Wells said, “One of the things I don’t think we have tried is to listen to the homeless. If we could have a task force that included them. Yes, to hear what they had to say about their problems, why they are there and what they think. I talked to one homeless person and the person told me you are telling us we need houses, all of us don’t want houses. We have other problems but nobody listens so that we can tell them. You’re telling us what you think we need.
“I know when we hear zoning cases and people want to come put housing in neighborhoods we always emphasize we need to hear what the neighbors want but we have not really heard. They come and talk at that mic over there but I don’t think we’ve engaged them in what are your ideas, how do you think we could do something about it. We may come up with some solutions.”
She added, “So I would like to see us form, staff to try to form some type of task force because I know as Councilmember Hightower said we are meeting with people, but I think we need to just listen and hear what people have to say.”
Back in 2018 the City Council decided that it needed to hear from the homeless population about a proposed panhandling ordinance. The Homeless Union and the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) provided homeless individuals to speak at the numerous forums and town hall meetings that were held.
The City Council spent from April to August on the panhandling ordinance, including hiring outside attorneys who attended all the various forums and town hall meetings.
In the end, the toothless panhandling ordinance that was passed by a 5-4 vote of the City Council was opposed by those representing the homeless population.