The final Greensboro City Council town hall meeting, held on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the Council Chamber, had a theme.
The theme was “homelessness.” There were two resolutions about homelessness on the agenda, more people spoke about homeless issues than anything else and the City Council accepted a long report on homeless issues in Greensboro and most of the comments made by city councilmembers were about homeless issues.
If you happen to be a home-owning, taxpaying, citizen of Greensboro, just about none of the meeting dealt with any issues you might have in your life, like wanting more job opportunities, better parks, safer streets, fewer potholes, quicker loose leaf pickup, easier glass recycling, or whatever issue you might have.
One resolution was to name Dec. 21 as 2019 National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. The other was a “Resolution Honoring the Students of the Early Middle College of Guilford Technical Community College and Their Participation in Sleep Out for Homelessness.” Lots of high school students all over the city are involved in projects all year, but it is extremely rare for one of these projects to be honored with a resolution passed by the City Council. Usually for high school students to be honored by the City Council they have to win a state championship.
Several of the speakers spoke about a report written by UNCG and Guilford College professors, “A SafePlace to Stay: Combating Homelessness, Police Violence and Jim Crow inGreensboro.”
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy in discussing the report and some of the comments made about it, said, “We don’t need more shelter beds. The only thing that is going to end the homeless situation is more housing.
Kennedy is the director of the Interactive Resource Center which is the day shelter for homeless people.
Kennedy also talked about how police officers had started coming to the IRC, having conversations and developing relationships with the people the IRC serves.
Councilmember Justin Outling said he had read the report and had some problems with it but the issue he wanted to mention was the title of the report and the use of the term “Jim Crow.” He said, “Black people are not a monolith.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower suggested that instead of Jim Crow the report should have said racism.