The growing homeless population in Center City Park got a lot of attention this week.
Monday, Aug. 8, Downtown Greensboro Inc. President and District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny, by email, invited city and county officials as well as representatives of downtown businesses to walk through Center City Park with him to discuss solutions to the problems created by the growing homeless population in the park.
In the email, after noting some of the problems in Center City Park, Matheny stated, “I invite you on this email, and all members of the COC [Continuum of Care] to walk through the park with me, let’s try and help folks get the help they need and I can learn why the organizations are unable to help them.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 10, a group that included city and county officials as well as representation from downtown business owners did just that – they walked through the park and discussed possible solutions to the growing problem that Center City Park has become.
City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba didn’t like it and responded on Friday, Aug. 12 to Matheny’s email stating in part, “One, there is already an existing meeting between the city and county to discuss strategies for addressing this concern. I am very concerned that multiple meetings involving different stakeholders will result in multiple discussions that we are not looped into and result in different strategies.
“Two this is a city/countywide issue that we should discuss with a goal of resolving it in a wholistic manner – resolving it in our downtown would only result in creating the same issue in other parts of the city.”
Matheny responded that he had asked about city/county meetings on the issue and had never been told when the meetings were being held. He added that the Wednesday meeting in the park that included the business community as well as city and county officials had been successful.
Vice President of the Richardson Corporation Mark Shumaker, who participated in the Wednesday meeting, also responded stating, “From a business owners perspective, I’d like to add emphasis to the fact that something needs to happen (rather than simply talking). We recently had an employee of a tenant (Arch MI) that a homeless person peed on from head to toe (she was sitting on a bench reading a book). Nothing was done and the police turned their back. We’re working hard to promote downtown and build economic vitality. The growing feedback we hear from tenants and prospects involve safety concerns.”
Vaughan Ramsey from the Tuggle Duggins law firm, who also participated in the walk, stated, “I have compassion for the homeless but the current situation in the parks is not tenable and some immediate visible action needs to be taken. If nothing is done, downtown is going to slowly wither as people slowly vote with their feet.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who did not participate in the walk, responded with a list of actions that were underway including: putting up 10 signs that unattended items will be removed from the park, the city attorney reviewing ordinances, park renovations that will include enhanced sprinklers, artistic fencing, additional bench arms to prohibit laying down and art pieces to occupy spaces between planters.
She said that the city was also negotiating for land outside the downtown as a site for nonprofit outreach such as providing meals.
Hey Tai-you work for Zack and the rest of the council, not the other way around. Enough talking about stuff. I avoid downtown because I don’t want to be harassed. The rest of council have been there for years and as usual haven’t done s?!$. Do the downtown business owners still pay the extra taxes? They sure aren’t getting their monies worth.
Why not house these homeless people in the Civil Rights Museum? Isn’t there plenty of room for them to sleep? Where are their Civil Rights? Don’t Skip care???? These are HIS people!!!!
Maybe they can go to Mar A Lago with the top secret documents and publish cops names so they get targeted by the biggest little guy – 45
You may be on to something. Let us assign one homeless person to live with each of the City Council members. To broaden the reach of this opportunity, every resident of Greensboro who voted for any of the current members of City Council must house one homeless person each, more if desired. Then we drill down to include any person or political entity that donated to any sitting member of the City Council will be required to house at least one homeless person each. That should do it. Problem solved. Thank you, Wait a MinUte. Appreciate your idea. By the way, I love President Trump. Number 45 is a lucky number. Number 47 is even better.
Typical racist comment. Why don’t you take them to your house.
What’s racist about that comment. Please enlighten us on your train of thought if your pea brain can.
Same old same old with the mayor and the manager. Nothing is going to be accomplished. The powers in charge will continue to meet and discuss rather than view the problem where it is happening. The solution is obvious. Get them out of the park! Pass an ordinance that says it is unlawful to be in the park between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM. Post it on signs in the park and then have the police do their job in enforcing the ordinance. This ain’t rocket science people.
Speaking of peeing. It seems to me that the manager and mayor hotpants believe that Zack Matheny peed on their authority. Touchy, touchy, touchy.
Why not focus on the underlying issue… Why the increase in the Homeless population???… What are we as a community doing to prevent homelessness or to help those that are?… These are people with no place to exist!. Where would you all like them to be located?♂️
Ordinance is not the law
You go Nancy Vaughn. Throw money at the problem, enhanced sprinklers, artistic fencing, additional bench arms to prohibit laying down and art pieces to occupy spaces between planters. Why not get all of these governmental agencies ie.. Salvation Army, Local Shelters, Cone Health, Department of Social Services, Alcoholics Anonymous, Drug Services, Job Services, Housing etc…… you know who they are, and get them all together and solve the problem. Maybe even get people from all of the local Colleges & Universities to assist. They are not doing there jobs if this is what we have all over the City. You won’t solve the problem by wasting $$ and doing Park Renovations. They will just move somewhere else.
Doubt this will be a problem this winter.
As far as City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba goes, do you really want to start a turf war over this issue? City vs County vs DGI.
The answer is twofold.
TEACH ME TO FISH AND I WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY, GiVE ME A FISH AND I WILL BE HUNGRY TOMORROW.
Secondly, as the bible says THE POOR WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU.
City and County officials are aware of this issue and choose to ignore it until the optics for downtown become ugly. Most of the homeless choose to be homeless but those that circumstance dictate their homelessness need effective programs offering a hand up, not a hand out.
Maybe instead of creating hostile architecture, encouraging the police to harass them, and just shoving the homeless under the rug somewhere else we can, idk, find them housing so that they don’t feel their best option is sleeping in the park?
Neither political party is willing to solve this issue because none of their big donors are homeless, and why solve it anyway when their unsympathetic and clueless constituents are willing to wage war against them.
A lot of these comments from supposedly Christian property owners sound like maybe they need to get peed on themselves. I feel like having a few glasses of water and contributing, quite frankly.
I don’t know, maybe you could invite them into your own home. Why should my tax dollars pay for someone else’s house when I am still trying to buy my own? You have privately and publicly funded nonprofits who’s supposed goal is to end homelessness. Yet after literally millions and millions of dollars spent, the same people are standing on the same street corner year after year.
So tell me, what have Partners Ending Homelessness, the IRC, Urban Ministry, etc. etc. been doing with all my tax money and private donations? Why are the same homeless dudes I met 5 years ago still homeless today? Unless you are willing to go pick them up and take them into your own home, don’t preach to me about being Christian. Live it or shut up about it, and tossing some coins to the beggar on the street isn’t fixing anything, nor is asking the government to fix it, nor is donating money to these supposed organizations. House them yourself if it means that much to you.
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The truth is a dash of cold water.
By and large the homeless problem is not a housing issue. It is a mental health issue. Most homeless people have major mental health problems, and in the old days would be in a full care, government run, mental health establishment. Those places no longer exist for the population at large, but if you want to solve homelessness, you need to solve the mental health crisis first. Give most of these guys a house and they will either destroy it, not take care of it, or wander off and abandon it.
If you don’t believe me, go pick for or five at random and invite them into your home. No? Not even just for dinner and movie with the old family?
Didn’t think so.
I have a homeless in Gboro who used to be housed at John Umpstead. They have a home but would rather stay homeless. Mentally Ill
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Make Greensboro San Francisco. Brilliant!
Why did not all of the council not participate they all get paid really well for their time especially since most don’t have any other way job so a sad bunch. Great idea nancy just put up more signs. Ask the POLICE how people today obey signs. What a joke.
Put up a sign. Man that should solve the park issue. How stupid do the city officials think we are. Most of the homeless in the park cannot read.
“I have never seen this many homeless people in a city before”. This is a direct quote from a technician touring with a Broadway show at the Tanger PAC who has been to hundreds of cities.
Not a good look Greensboro.
Charge admission to the Park ($50?) unless the patron has paid property tax or rent locally-put trespassers on a road gang. Fire Tai the Power Mad Manager.
Same old Mayoral comment…we gotta list, not a problem. The manager denies the significance of the problem and that it involves everyone, not just City Council and County Commissioners. Kudos to Skip. He is exactly right…I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. Homelessness has always been an issue in Greensboro and the mayor has always shuffled it off to IRC and Urban Ministry. She better prepare as the problem of homelessness is only going to grow. Many of us are about $20 away from losing our home. Increased taxes, groceries up 30%, utilities up, all the things required to own and maintain a home cost money. And everything is going up. Salaries are not. Get ready Mayor and Manager..if you think it is only your issue and you can fix it, be ready because more are coming.
Mandate Mayor sings into action by stealing backpacks and clothing from homeless folks and putting expensive uncomfortable seating for those that are apparently an eyesore to the donor class on their way to see plays like Les Mis and the creme DE LA creme visiting DGI headquarters.
Take some of your excessive taxes that are usually wasted on pet projects that bear no fruit. Greensboro has plenty of said projects.
Our illustrious city manager was hired to solve these problems, not talk about them.
Surely you jest. This manager hires nonproductive people, so he does not have to work.
Curly Top hasn’t changed a bit……already trying to usurp the authority of the city manager.
Sounds like some pols chose to not go. Walking the area and discussing ideas makes sense to me. There are too many committees and meeting. That is why nothing gets done.
Simple solution. Pass vagrancy laws. Enforce them
If democrats didn’t foster and actually promote poverty and racism, they’d simply not exist! And the low T GOP is just about useless.
Increasingly my husband and I are realizing it’s time to make plans to leave. Our tax money is supporting a city manager who is nothing but a destructive DIE hire, and the thousands we give to community service not-for-profits is waisted as they can’t possibly serve the city’s needs with a city manager intent on making the problems worse – all in a transparent ploy to waste ever increasing taxpayer dollars on political activism to “address” the problems he wants to get worse.
So for us, we are giving it 2 years. They drove out a fantastic police chief in chief James which was warning one. Either the city manager goes, or we go. Lots of places very close by to have a nice quality of life without the woke drive businesses broke mentality Greensboro government “leaders” seem drawn to with no concern we are now one of the deadliest cities in the country per capita. This despite the highest property tax rate in the state meant to fund local services like police. Tai clearly can’t handle the job so he cut the police budget by $1,000,000, but hired himself 3 “assistants.” How pathetic.
Artistic fencing? More locals painting on wood planks to stand around an area? Yeah, that looks great. Put em in your front yard Nancy. Why not more useless sidewalks too. And signs telling homeless not to gather there. That’ll fix it. We do have a place for illegals though, just not our own citizens. On Hobbs road no doubt. Thanks city council. Great job
Your are so right, we are disgusted as well. Love the Tanger Center and we are season ticket holders but walking past that park really is a concern. Our town is looking bad, that park is overloaded with homeless people who need help and services. Do something City Manager and stop your control and give the police their money back.
Weak minded people get weak results. Greensboro within city limits has higher tax rates then the county. The city is responsible for this. If I’m not allowed to vote for city government as a county resident yet have a higher property tax bill. My expectation is that you as government officials handle this swiftly. Do your job. Stop pointing fingers. A park should be a safe place for residents in guilford county period. Tell them to pack their belongings and move on. Simple enough. Show some real strength and they will get it.
We shouldn’t have to spend a dime on this. Nancy and her sprinklers and signs is just an added cost. We don’t need signs to tell people that you have no right to stay there. Another way to spend.
City Council has been working diligently for years to make Greensboro the San Francisco of the east. Just sounds like their dreams are coming to fruition. It’s just wonderful watching a plan come together !!
Watch the news documentary “SEATTLE is DYING” if you want to know what a liberal government will do about “homelessness” when they stop enforcing the law and not get to the real problem.
Why not create a sort of campground for the homeless. Include porta potties, water spigot, and trash cans? Homelessness is not easy and certainly not a preferable way to live. They will sleep somewhere. Make it a hassel free environment and the majority will gravitate there.
One of the best comments on here, we need a safe camp ground,or bigger shelter. No one should have to heard around for food and shelter in the elements, but we do. I have a dislocated spine and no insurance, no transportation,my truck broke down, my bike was stolen, it’s hard out here.I have a good home now, and can’t afford to eat or repair my truck,I need a transmission rebuild, hell I can’t fix my truck and pay insurance and tag and taxes. Impossible even on disability.
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And where to put this campground that will quickly grow exponentially? What then? What happens when the temperature dips into the teens? This is not an easy problem to solve. Unfortunately, it was not addressed before it became the problem it is today. The same leadership was there then as it is now.
I applaud Zack. He is trying to come up with a good solution for Center City Park. The City Manager should have been on this walk instead of bad mouthing Zack. This is the city that belongs to the residents of Greensboro -not to the city manager with his big paycheck. Mayor Nancy- sprinklers and a sign? Do you live under a Rock?? That’s not a solution!
Ok while y’all discuss downtown homelessness, please take a ride down Wendover Avenue and Bridford Parkway. I myself am tired of seeing these panhandlers at every intersection. Some of these young and able bodies have chosen not to work and let society support them. Yes, some do fall on hard times. I asked one to please pick up his trash. He snickered at me. I came from generation where you earn your way in life. Nothing is free.
You get the government you deserve. Keep on being a one party city. As a aside: did it ever occur to the City worthies why there was a 16% turnout? Per Tyrus…….Nuf said!
Not to oversimplify, but cats live where you feed them. People are much the same. If you would stop literally catering to them downtown, the population would at least spread out throughout the city. It does not help that every service provider for the unsheltered is located downtown. Greensboro has essentially made its downtown a homeless Mecca. Just like the Field of Dreams, they built it, and they came. There is no mystery here.
It’s a complete waste of my tax dollars! Get these people out of the bark using the EXISTING laws and ordinances. Quit wasting time and money and do your job! No more participation awards for you losers. Absolutely useless!
I applaud Zack Matheny for stepping up and being the champion for the citizens and business leaders. This type of leadership has been long over due. I stopped going downtown years ago because of the dangerous conditions presented as well as the unsanitary conditions. Even more, I avoid any and all patronage to many parts of the city as it has become 25th most dangerous city in the nation and 8th per capita. I will support Mr Mathenys efforts as I hope will all citizens.
Clearly, Greensboro needs hundreds of more comfortable benches. Duh.
People that don’t even visit the park on here yapping about nothing. Zack Matheny is another trumpet that’s gonna steal money and do nothing.
Unfortunately homelessness is the result of selling and renting housing for profit and not for people. Housing has a use value (a place to sleep and to eat and to store things, a place to use the bathroom or to have friends and family over) and an exchange value (how much it sells or rents for). The problem arises from the contradiction between these two values. So long as housing is built, owned, and operated for its exchange value to make a profit, the people that cannot afford it according to that exchange value will end up homeless. It’s unfortunate, but it’s why places with high housing costs (San Francisco, Denver, etc) have higher rates of homelessness than places with higher rates of poverty and drug use (West Virginia and Mississippi). The solution then is pretty straightforward: increase the amount of money the poorest have through things like unemployment insurance, child benefits sent directly to parents, social security and disability insurance) and increase the supply of housing not rented for maximum profit through city, county, or state owned social housing. Absent those solutions, we’ll continue to have people that need housing in Greensboro.
You don’t seem to get the people in the park choose to be homeless and loitering, most due to mental illness or drug use or both. It’s not a housing, let’s all be socialists and have rent control issue. As long as I am paying the ridiculous high tax rate the city passed I will rent or sell my home for market rate or what people will pay.
I am not willing to pay for all the free stuff you suggest. FYI, all the govt handouts in the last two years accomplished nothing in the improvement of people’s lives.
In lieu of govt handouts, if you want support from the govt; you can work outdoors in cleanup and enviornment improvement projects. If you give an honest days’ work, you get 3 hots and a cot. If you want more, get a better job.
Most of us are having an increasingly difficult time getting along, thanks to our govt policies.
You, my friend, are a true socialist.
Taj wants to be a banana republic leader like some of the city council. It was a mistake to bring him here.
When we allow legitimate local news gathering sources like the News and Record to wither and die, we are left with rags such as The RT that stuff crap into the gaps.
This is lazy reporting, if one can even call it reporting, and, as usual, Rhino exacerbates and inflames a topic without taking time to actually research an issue. Plus, majority of the comments show a lack of understanding or intelligent discourse about an issue that, contrary to many commentators opinions, is not “chosen” by those experiencing it.
N&R was not “allowed to wither and die”. It was a for profit business that has chosen to be ultra left leaning. For a town as liberal as it is, I am surprised they do not have a strong customer base. I can only assume they are not selling a product anyone wants to buy at that price point, which is what kills most business. That is how capitalism works. Rhino has at least adapted and gone exclusively online.
I do agree that Rhino tends to write overly short articles. I think Carroll dictates that the Hammers and Yost crank out a certain number of articles per day or something. It keeps people coming back to the site. Plus the modern attention span is more geared toward a shorter article. I would still like to see the occasional deep dive into something. The homeless issue and how Greensboro government and “service providers” seem to exacerbate it rather than mitigate it would make an interesting expose`.
Excellent points. I do stand by my comment “allowed to wither and die”, as I meant as a society we have spurned local news gathering organizations that would actually follow the tenets of reporting. Because “we” (collectively) did not purchase print newspapers, and since they are for profit, they (again collectively) were allowed to be absorbed by corporate structures that care little about local reporting.
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I have asked Mr. Hammer about this. He said that anyone can submit an article, published here or in Letters. It can be short, or in depth. So, Don, we can make a “deep dive” whenever we like.
Why should the Rhino “research” the problem? We pay the mayor, city council and the city manager plus his 3 assistants to do that. But, almost all major cities have been trying to solve this problem for years. They have had years and years of “understanding and intelligent discourse” and the results are their parks sidewalks, and streets are covered in poo, needles, tents, tarps, and broken down RVs. When a young woman is sitting on a park bench reading a book and gets “peed on from head to toe” with no action taken by the city police, we are well on our way to the same fate. Perhaps we should consider spending more to care for these American citizens in need and less on feeding and housing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing our borders unabated on a monthly basis. The government estimates the net cost to the taxpayers of at least $54.5 billion per year which would house and feed a LOT of American citizens in need.
Jeff, you just said nothing about nothing.
Maybe having the restrooms in downtown parks open 24 hours would help eliminate homeless folks from using the streets as a toilet. Also maybe some homeless would rather sleep in a well patrolled in the open area instead of being run off to unsafe hidden areas around the public funded areas in downtown. Mandate Mayor and our leaders hate having to view the real evidence of their failed policies and their lack of vision and will to actually address problems instead of just criminalizing being destitute.
Also our religious institutions here in our fair city have moved far from any real devotion to charity and exist as social clubs that only engage in virtue signaling and judgement of others. For shame.
I actually know a pretty good number of homeless people in gso. Against my will or desire. And I can say this is a direct result of an almost complete lack of a sensible means of assistance for drug addicts. Many do not qualify due to lack of money. The ones that do have a very hard time, still even with great effort on their end, getting into any sort of program. And often times even when they do get into one, they are discharged prematurely for one reason or another. Most recently one was discharged for hair lice which they contracted at the program! Another was refused service for “having covid” although the facility did not test them for it. And yet another was ejected for reasons relating to their diabetes. That individual is now on the run from the law because being ejected and not being able to return violated his probation. Many of these individuals have either no family or the one they do have does not care about them.
You are right. There are ALWAYS a few at the bottom (even more than few now). There is no real solution except things like overnight bedding and food at some churches or charities. FPC discontinued this practice because of vandalism and theft. I suspect this problem is widespread.
I have yet to see a solution, or any ideas that actually worked. I also think that drugs are the main contributor.
tate street got rid of most of ‘them’ by eliminating public seating & ‘lay-down’ areas. the interactive resource center should be their preferred lay around spot, why isn’t it? i agree with don: feed them somewhere else. just remember that each meal produces a turd — watch what they do with theirs!