Details on the proposed project to provide temporary housing for the homeless are few and far between.
At a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, the City Council voted 7-1 to allocate $535,000 to purchase 40 pallet houses for “The Doorway Project” to provide temporary housing for the homeless.
Housing and Neighborhood Department Director Michelle Kennedy said the city would need about a one-quarter acre lot to accommodate the 40 Pallet houses, which are 8 feet by 8 feet, providing 64-square-feet of living space for two people.
City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said that the location of the temporary housing should not place an extra burden on the occupants “by taking them far away from their natural support system.” He also said that it had to be located close to transit services.
A map was provided with four “Homeless Points of Frequency” – the Regency Inn, the Department of Social Services, the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) and Greensboro Urban Ministry. The map indicates that the temporary housing should be located within a mile of at least one of the facilities.
City Councilmember Zack Matheny, when asked where the temporary housing project would be located, stated in an email that city staff “will not be releasing the location, so I do not know nor does any city council member.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that she understood that the location of the temporary housing community had not been selected. She suggested that the city consider placing the Pallet shelters inside a vacant big box store or other large vacant building, which would provide additional security and protection from the elements.
There are a lot of other questions that were not answered before the vote on Monday. One is the total cost of the project. Kennedy said that two-bathroom facilities with two showers, two sinks and two toilets would need to be provided for the 40 Pallet shelters and the cost of those was about $100,000 each.
There was also no estimate of the cost of preparing the site for the 40 Pallet shelters or the cost of management and security for the site.