GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Just in time for the cold weather, the city of Greensboro is preparing to help the homeless population stay warm this winter. On Tuesday, the pallet homes started to go up at Pomona Park off Clifton Road in Greensboro.
It was a cold first day for construction, but the crews knew the mission was more important.
“When we leave, staff leaves to go home. We got a home to go to, and it’s warm. You got to think the people that we are trying to help here … don’t have that home to go to,” said Troy Powell, the neighborhood impact manager at the City of Greensboro.
Next week, dozens of people will have a warm place to go even earlier in the season than last year.
“A lot of our planning when we wanted to break it down last year with putting it back up in mind, so we can deploy quite quickly, and that is why you see them going up faster,” Powell said.
City crews and contractors are assembling the 64-square-foot homes. Most of them have two beds inside except for one building with no beds for 24/7 security and two buildings with one bed each to accommodate wheelchairs. That’s a total of 30 buildings with 56 beds. All the beds are assigned based on need.
“There is a lot of thought, energy and emphasis put on that process because we want this program to be successful,” said Liz Alverson, the supportive housing analyst for the City of Greensboro.
Close to 40 referrals from community organizations have come into the Interactive Resource Center, but it’s a rolling system. Once a person finds permanent housing and moves out, the IRC gets someone else inside.
“You have to be enrolled in case management and working on your housing plan in order to stay here, and that helps the effectiveness and helps us rotate more and more people through,” said Kristina Singleton, the executive director at the Interactive Resource Center.
A roof over their head, a heater inside and a safe place to go to sleep is only a small part of this program.
“You have a case management system that comes and checks on out and makes sure you are getting the meds that you need, the doctors appointments you need and any resources that you need. We walk with you in this process,” Singleton said.
It’s support from outside the fence and a sense of community on the field.
“When you are spending all your time here in one location, you are all together. You begin to look out for each other, take care of each other, make sure everyone has what they need,” Alverson said.
There is still work to do inside to hook up electricity to the units before the final inspections happen on Friday. Then people will start to move in on Monday. The pallet homes will stay up through mid-March.
The Safe Park Program will stay at the IRC parking lot. The program allows people to safely sleep in their cars overnight with security on site.
The IRC says they wanted to keep the program at their location because they plan on becoming a 24/7 facility.
The executive director says she hopes to extend the hours in December.