GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Greensboro housing and development director says resources for those facing homelessness are running thin and it is time to prioritize who they help.
“Our money and our resources need to be spent on residents of the city,” said Michelle Kennedy, the housing and development director for the city.
Council members talked about some options for putting a system in place to first help homeless residents.
It is in the very early stages, and nothing has been decided. If the city does move forward with this plan, it doesn’t mean they won’t help out-of-towners, but the first to receive services are the people of Greensboro.
“We are drowning, and it is getting worse … Unless we establish some parameters and some boundaries around the services that we offer, we are not going to make it through this,” Kennedy said.
City leaders are scratching their heads for solutions.
“We have to figure out how to prioritize the people who truly live in our community. The big question: How do you validate a homeless person is a resident? Many of those folks go to places like the Interactive Resource Center where they receive their mail or they get an ID card in partnership with an organization like the IRC, or they are receiving services with one of our other partners,” Kennedy said.
City leaders must decide how long a person needs to live here to be a resident. That could be anywhere from 90 days to a year. Priority would also be given to people with disabilities or other factors.
“In theory, this is good, but I don’t see how it gets implemented because I don’t see how you turn people away,”Council Member Zach Matheny said.
Even if the person does not receive help here, the city wants to make sure they can get help back in their community.
“We as a community have done very little in terms of diversion,” Kennedy said. “The goal is to make those connections in your home community, get you triaged, get you reconnected back there.”
The city wants to establish that they are not a resource for the entire region’s homeless population.
“This kind of sends a message when people are deciding where they are going to go to try to get services, and they realize there is a priority, and they might likely get services if they come here,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.
With money running out, there isn’t an option. They want to keep tax dollars from Greensboro to help people who live in Greensboro.
There is no date set for when this could be put in place.