Some but not all of the Pallet shelters on the Pomona Park ball field were occupied during the unseasonably cold Christmas weekend.

According to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, 15 people were housed in the Pallet shelters over the weekend.  She noted that the original goal was to have the Pallet shelter available by January, and the timeline had been pushed because of the prediction of the record low temperatures for the Christmas weekend.

The Pallet shelter village when complete will be able to house 58 people in 28 two-person shelters and two one-person shelters.  The city is required to have two shelters that are handicapped accessible.  Because of the space requirements, the 64-square-foot shelters can only house one person and meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

All 30 of the Pallet shelters had been assembled by Wednesday, Dec. 21, but each Pallet shelter has an electric heater and providing each shelter with electricity is a far more involved undertaking than assembling the homes – a process that only takes a couple of hours.

The City Council approved an allocation of $535,000 for the purchase of 40 Pallet shelters at a special meeting on Oct. 10 in hopes of having all of them available to provide shelter during the winter.  The City Council approved the purchase, but city staff would not reveal where the Pallet shelters would be placed.

At the Nov. 15 meeting, when the City Council approved an additional $200,000 for management and security for the Pallet shelter village, City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba refused to tell City Councilmember Zack Matheny where the shelters would be placed.  City staff did reveal that because of the location, the city would only be purchasing 30 Pallet shelters, not the 40 the City Council had approved.

On Dec. 13. Vaughan provided the Rhino Times with the information that the Pallet shelters and the “safe parking” site would both be at Pomona Park with the Pallet shelters placed in the outfield of the baseball field.

The location became controversial because the baseball field at Pomona Park is the only baseball field in Greensboro specially constructed for special needs children, and it was built with $200,000 raised privately.

There was a delay in setting up the Pallet shelters because city did not order the shelters until it received approval from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.  A similar shelter from High Point was used for inspection by the Department of Insurance.

During “white flag” nights, the Interactive Resource Center (IRC), which is normally only open during the day, becomes a night shelter as well.  During the Christmas weekend, the IRC provided shelter for between 90 and 107 people per night.

The IRC is also the agency that is managing the Pallet shelter village and the safe parking site.  Because of the extremely low temperatures during the weekend people coming to the safe parking site were advised to go to the IRC.