In October, the Greensboro City Council committed to trying out several new initiatives to provide housing for the homeless population during the winter months.
At a special meeting held on Oct. 10, the City Council passed a resolution to move forward with both the Doorway Project to provide 40 Pallet shelters and the Safe Parking initiative.
There was no funding passed for the Safe Parking initiative at that meeting and no location for either project was revealed.
Although no official announcement of the location of the Pallet shelters or the Safe Parking initiative has been made, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that both the Pallet shelter village and the Safe Parking initiative would be at 3910 Clifton Road, the site of the former Folk Teen Center next to Pomona Park.
According to the staff presentation, the Safe Parking initiative will provide “the establishment of a safe and secure location for unhoused persons who may be forced to sleep temporarily in their vehicles. The site would be staffed in the evening hours as participants arrive and security would be provided overnight. Portable toilets or a mobile bathroom and shower unit would be placed on site overnight.”
According to the presentation to the City Council, a maximum of 35 vehicles will be allowed in the Safe Parking lot, which will operate from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. The City Council discussed whether 6 a.m. was too early to require people to remove their cars from the lot.
When approval of the Safe Parking program was passed by the City Council in October, there was no allocation for the program or discussion of the possible cost of providing a secure parking lot for people living in their cars.
However, at the Nov. 15 meeting, the City Council approved a contract with the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) for $484,000 for the Doorway Project, Safe Parking, winter hotel housing and White Flag shelter openings.
A couple who spoke during the public forum period of the Dec. 6 meeting said they lived in their car and talked about the difficulty of finding a place to legally park in downtown Greensboro.
The location at 3910 Clifton Road is not in the downtown area but will provide a secure location for people living in their cars to park overnight.