It looks like Greensboro City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy isn’t going to get the permanent supportive housing facility built where she wanted it.
At the Nov. 19, 2019 City Council work session, Kennedy interrupted the meeting to ask for support for her efforts to have the Maple Street Building, owned by the city and used by Parks and Recreation, turned into permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
Permanent supportive housing combines affordable housing with health care, counseling and other support services at one site. It typically serves the homeless.
Kennedy is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, which offers services for the homeless during the day. Many of the issues she brings to City Council are about the homeless population in Greensboro.
The presentation by Kennedy caught many councilmembers off guard. But at a more formal presentation at a work session in January, councilmembers were prepared with questions about the cost of retrofitting an old building versus benefits to the city.
The plan to turn the Maple Street Building into permanent supportive housing is dead because on Tuesday, March 31, selling the Maple Street building to Guilford County for $1.75 million is on the consent agenda for approval. It may be somewhat confusing because what is commonly referred to as the Maple Street Building is on the corner of Maple Street and Fourth Street and is listed on the agenda as the sale of 1001 Fourth St. to Guilford County.
The Consent Agenda is for noncontroversial items and according to City Council policy are not supposed to be discussed by the City Council. If a councilmember wants to discus an item it is supposed to be removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the general business agenda for the next meeting.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that when the city looked at the possibility of renovating the Maple Street Building, which was built as the executive offices for Cone Mills Corporation, into permanent supportive housing it was too expensive.
She said, “It was going to cost too much to retrofit it and for what we are selling it for to the county we could build something on city-owned land.”
Guilford County is building its new mental health facility a block away from this building and the Guilford County Human Services Building is across the street, so the reason why Guilford County would be interested in buying the building are fairly obvious.