People have a lot of questions about the details of the Pallet shelter project, which is scheduled to open for business on Friday, Dec. 23.

When a project is approved without the details being released, much less discussed in public, there are bound to be questions – particularly when it appears the cost of the project will be in the million dollar range.

Once again it is District 3 Councilmember Zack Matheny who is bringing some of those questions to light.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Matheny sent an email to City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba and Assistant City Manager Trey Davis in which he lists four areas of concern that he states have been brought to him by his constituents.

Here are the questions from Matheny’s email:

“1. TransGender task force recommendations. It is my understanding there was a recommendation from the task force for all shelters that receive city funding to require LGBTQ sensitivity training this year.  Has this been completed?  If not, why?

“2. Pallet Home location:

  1. The location chosen, as I understand it, is the only location for handicapped accessible ballfields. They play challenger baseball at this location which begins in March. It is likely we will get decent weather for families to go out and practice in March, therefore we should ensure these fields are accessible. This is a complete disservice to special-needs individuals. There is special matting on this field, which I would imagine will experience damage.
  2. Why not place the homes on a hard surface where they would not destroy a field, for example, the underutilized tennis courts at Hester Park? Further, placing the pallet houses on a hard surface and not merely on the ground (which freezes in the wintertime) will help with heating.

“3. What is the current city funded shelter capacity? When we first were presented options by [Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development] Michelle Kennedy, she stated she would revisit occupancy with the shelter management.  What has been done and have they increased to 75% or 100% of occupancy.  Ms. Kennedy stated it was up to the individual organizations to decide.  It seems to me that if the city is comfortable putting two individuals in a small 64 sq ft enclosure, then having beds 8 feet apart would also be good to house more people.

“4. I was told by another council person that the city owns 22 apartments near Bennett College and that they are 2 bedrooms each.  Is this true and if so, what is the background and are they indeed empty.”

While the location of the Pallet shelter project is not a secret, it also has not been announced publicly.  The City of Greensboro sends out a press release when a street is going to be closed for a couple of hours.  Not sending out a press release with details like the location of the Pallet shelter project, when the shelters will be in place and how bathroom facilities will be provided, raises questions.