The City Council agreed to move forward with the plan to create a permanent supportive facility for the homeless in northeast Greensboro at the Thursday, Oct. 28 work session.
Although a number of questions were asked about the proposal, no member of the City Council expressed opposition to the plan to purchase the Regency Inn and Suites motel at 2701 N. OHenry Blvd. and spend an estimated $13 million to turn it into permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless.
The item that will be on the agenda for the Monday, Nov. 1 meeting calls for the city to make a $3 million, no interest, forgivable loan to Partnership Homes Inc. to purchase the property and make the necessary renovations for it to become a winter homeless shelter.
The plan then calls for an additional $10 million to be spent to renovate the property for a permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless. The source of the $10 million for renovation is unclear. There was no discussion of the cost of operating a permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless or how that would cost would be paid.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter noted that the $10 million for upfit of the old motel was about $150,000 per room. She said, “$150,000 per room – that’s a lot of money.”
The council was told that a number of other entities including Guilford County were expected to pay some of the $10 million for renovating the facility.
Councilmember Justin Outling asked if the city had commitments from any of the other “partners” mentioned.
Neighborhood Development Department Director Michelle Kennedy said, “To my knowledge no one has been approached.”
Outling said that the city was being asked to spend $3 million on a $13 million project when the source of the $10 million to make the project complete was unknown and that “gives me a little bit of pause.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “The $13 million throws me. I don’t think I heard that before at all.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “It’s a first step and like everything else has some risks involved.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells noted that the proposed facility was in her district and some people were not happy about it, but she added, “The homeless are citizens of Greensboro and we have to look out for them like we look out for other people.”
Despite questions no one on the City Council said they were not in support of the proposal.