At the Tuesday, Oct. 17 meeting, the discussion on funding the pallet shelters for a second year morphed into a discussion on how Greensboro was attracting more homeless people to the city.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower started that portion of the discussion saying, “Now buses are driving people here because we are taking care of the homeless.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter went into more detail saying, “We have found out from speaking to the homeless, and I know the mayor has as well, that they are coming from other cities with a one-way ticket to Greensboro because it is known throughout the state, and actually some from Florida, some from Wilmington, some from Fayetteville, that they should go to Greensboro and they’ll take care of you. I’m a very open caring person, but we can’t take care of everybody, and the more they send to us from the other cities, I don’t know what we can do to solve that, but it’s starting to put a strain on the resources we do have. So I don’t know if there is a magic answer to that either, but I know the mayor and I had a conversation about it and I talked to a few other council people. I really don’t what we can do, but it’s bad. We like having a reputation of helping people because that’s what Greensboro is all about, but when you start becoming overwhelmed because of that, when someone was given a one-way bus ticket to Greensboro, that is a concern.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan agreed that having homeless people come to Greensboro to take advantage of the services the city provides was a problem. She said, “I would agree we are seeing people coming off the buses and trains with suitcases. You see suitcases all over, and it’s not just the downtown, you see it out in other places.”
Vaughan said that the city was working on a way to “prioritize the people who have lived their lives here, compared to people who have just stepped off the bus. So, we’ll probably bring something for consideration within the next month.”