The presentation the City Council heard on Permanent Supportive Housing at the City Council Work Session in the Plaza Level Conference Room on Tuesday, Jan. 21, didn’t turn out quite like the supporters intended.
The report prepared by the Neighborhood Housing Department used the Moore Place in Charlotte as a good model for a similar effort in Greensboro to provide, not simply housing, but a myriad of support services for people who are chronically homeless.
But Councilmember Tammi Thurm had done some research and said Moore Place was initially supported by the City of Charlotte, but it is not a City of Charlotte project.
Thrum said, “It’s not managed by the city, not run by the city and I’m not sure what the city contributes annually.”
Thurm said that most of the money was raised for the facility before Charlotte was asked to contribute and she didn’t know if Charlotte contributed to the operation or made a one-time contribution.
That’s a far cry from the presentation City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy gave at the Nov. 17, City Council work session. Kennedy’s plan was to take the Maple Street building that currently houses the Parks and Recreation Department administration and have the city turn it into a permanent supportive housing facility.
City Councilmember Justin Outling noted that much of the financial savings attributed to Moore Place in Charlotte was not in city expenses. He said that quite a bit of savings was in fewer trips to the emergency room, and while that cut costs for the healthcare provider, it wouldn’t save the city money.
He said that to make a case for funding such a facility, he would like to see a breakdown of where it saved the city money and why it would be better than the city putting money into a project that “focused on people with fewer needs.”
City Councilmember Sharon Hightower said she didn’t like the Maple Street location because it was across the street from a police substation and that would make people living there think that they were being watched.
At the end of the meeting, by consensus, the City Council directed City Manager David Parrish to continue to negotiate the sale of the Maple Street building to Guilford County.
In November, Kennedy said that she wanted an answer on going forward with the project at Maple Street by December. It appears that Kennedy received her answer in January.