The high degree of animosity some members of the City Council have toward the Guilford County Board of Commissioners was on display at the City Council virtual work session on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Councilmember Justin Outing made what seemed to be a reasonable suggestion and was repeatedly interrupted by Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
The City Council led by Councilmember Michelle Kennedy is planning to leave the Guilford County Continuum of Care (COC), which is a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded organization established to deal with homeless issues.
The Guilford County COC is governed by a board and run by a lead agency that is currently Partners Ending Homelessness. Greensboro plans to drop out of the countywide COC and start a Greensboro COC with Greensboro as the lead agency.
Kennedy is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, a day shelter for the homeless that is one of the organizations that receives funds through the COC.
Outling did not argue that Greensboro should not leave the Guilford County COC but did ask what Guilford County’s position was on the plan.
Outling asked Greensboro Neighborhood Development Director Stan Wilson, “What have the discussions with the county been and what is their position?”
Wilson said, “I have not had discussions with the county.”
Outling said, “I hope that we have a conversation with the county before we would actually take action.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower then joined the discussion with comments of her own and Outling was attempting to respond to Hightower when he was interrupted by Vaughan.
Vaughan said, “Housing is not a county function.”
Outling said, “Health and human services is a county function.” But Outling had to talk over Vaughan who repeatedly said, “I’m not done.”
Outling said, “The COC is not limited to housing.”
Vaughan said, “The country does not really have a role in this board as the city does.”
Outling tried to finish his statement and Vaughan said, “I’m speaking please let me finish.”
Vaughan who began by interrupting Outling accused Outling of interrupting her.
Vaughan said, “Housing is not a county function. They haven’t been part of the COC as a county function at this point.’
Outling said, “Is the country not a member of the COC.”
Vaughan replied, “They area member, but they have not taken an active role like the city.”
Outling said, “My suggestion was to have the conversation.”
He added, “COC services are beyond housing. That is a component of the services but not the entirety of the services.”
The City Council in this case, didn’t take a vote but Vaughan said that it appeared to her that there was consensus on the City Council to move forward with the plan to leave the Guilford County COC and start a Greensboro COC.
Greensboro already has a conference call scheduled to discuss the topic with HUD on Friday, Sept. 4.