The Continuum of Care (COC), which handles homeless prevention programs in Greensboro, was number two on the agenda at the City Council virtual work session on Tuesday, Aug. 19, causing some confusion.
The work session was only scheduled for an hour and 15 minutes and the first item was a report on affordable housing that took an hour and 12 minutes. However, Neighborhood Development Director Stan Wilson was given 14 minutes for his report on the COC, which meant the regular City Council meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. started late.
It was somewhat surprising that the City Council, which spends a lot of time, effort and money on homeless issues, would try to cram this report into a meeting when it was already going into overtime.
However, after the presentation was over and the City Council was trying to schedule another meeting to discuss the COC issues that Wilson had presented in an amazingly short period of time leaving no time for questions or discussion, the reason became more clear.
There was a good bit of confusion with a number of councilmembers speaking and Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson trying to take a vote on holding another work session.
Then Councilmember Tammi Thurm interrupted to ask other councilmembers who were talking to stop and listen to Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson.
Thurm said, “Wait one second. It looks like Assistant City Manager Mr. Wilson is trying to interject something.”
Chris Wilson said, “I was just going to offer that as part of our bringing back information I would like to bring back information based on what we heard today with regard to exploring the option of forming a Greensboro COC versus the Guilford County COC so that we would have the ability to look at options where our housing priorities would tie to the intake process as well.”
The information on what the report was really about, pulling Greensboro out of the Guilford County COC, had been easy to miss.
Stan Wilson in his report noted that the COC was established by HUD and had its own charter and governing board. He said that Partners Ending Homelessness was currently the lead agency running the COC.
Stan Wilson said, “The best practice is having a municipality doing that.”
He also said that last year Greensboro and the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) came up with a plan for the COC but the COC membership rejected it.
City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy is the executive director of the IRC.
So perhaps if Stan Wilson had not had to fly through his report, Chris Wilson (no relation) would not have had to butt into the meeting to inform the council of the reason for the report.