What the City of Greensboro calls The Doorway Project is coming to a close.

The Doorway Project is the official name of the pallet shelter village that was built on the ballfield at Pomona Park in December 2022.

Next week the city plans to start dismantling pallet shelters, which are designed to be dismantled and put back together repeatedly.

The upcoming removal of the pallet shelters has created some anxiety for downtown residents and workers because the pilot program has done what it was designed to do.

The name, “The Doorway Project,” comes from the goal, which was to reduce the number of homeless people sleeping in doorways on cold winter nights, and it was by most accounts successful.

Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development Director Michelle Kennedy said, “The project was helpful.  If you drove down Elm Street, you could see the difference.”

The maximum capacity of the pallet shelter village is 58 people.  Once the project was up and running, on average 53 people a night were housed in the pallet homes. The pallet homes are designed for occupancy by two people but Kennedy said it was not always possible to find two compatible people for each shelter and that was one reason the shelters were not at capacity more often.

With that level of success, some people are asking why the pallet shelters have to be dismantled and stored rather than being moved to a different location.

Kennedy said that the North Carolina Department of Insurance would only approve the pallet shelters for 180 days.  How long they have to remain in storage before they can be set up for another 180 days is currently an open question.

Kennedy said, “There are lots of states where they are being used full time.”

But Kennedy explained that Greensboro had the shelters approved by the Department of Insurance only as an emergency measure with the time limit for emergency use of six months.

Kennedy said that the “emergency” was the cold winter weather and that since the pallet shelters are air-conditioned as well as heated, her department was investigating using the shelters again in the summer during an “extreme heat” emergency.

Kennedy said, “Theoretically we could use them in the winter and summer but not in the fall and spring.”

She said, “Probably the right folks at the state level could get that amended.”

Kennedy said that the city was also looking for a location for the pallet homes that could be more permanent.

The pallet homes have to be removed from their current location on the ballfield at Pomona Park, so the field which is the only ballfield in Greensboro designed to be used by special needs children can be ready for the spring season.