GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro thinks they have the answer to where the homeless population can safely go overnight.
“With shelters at full capacity, there really is nowhere else for folks to go,” IRC Executive Director Kristina Singleton said.
The IRC is making big plans to have the facility open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It would not have beds to sleep like a shelter, but it would give people a safe place to go overnight and give them access to the resources they need at all hours of the day.
The IRC says now is the time to make this change because they have a greater need than they have seen since the IRC opened 14 years ago. Right now, they average about 130 people a day, and they know there are more out there who can’t get the help they need because of their limited hours.
“We know homelessness doesn’t end at 3 p.m.,” Singleton said.
The current hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. aren’t enough at Greensboro’s IRC.
“We will never have all of the answers, but I do believe that we have enough answers and we have enough support that we can make a real difference,” Singleton said.
She says when the IRC opened in 2009 the biggest need was a place for people to go during the day when shelters closed. Now, shelters are always at capacity, and the need has changed.
“This is simply a safe place to be, to not be asked to move along constantly, to be able to do your laundry, take a shower and have a bathroom. We feel at the very least that is what offers dignity to folks that need it so much,” she said.
Many people pass through on a regular basis.
“Normally, I come here to take a shower and do my laundry,” Rain Lee Bailey said.
She frequently uses the IRC and likes the current set up and is skeptical about additional hours.
“I think it should stay exactly the way that it is. I think when people take advantage of the fact that they have resources and people trying to help them … it would get worse, and I don’t think it is safe actually to be open more than that,” Bailey said.
Others who use the services think the expansion would be productive.
“I’m happy and excited to hear that because it is a must-need,” Jaquasha said.
The IRC is hoping to move quickly and start to offer overnight hours by winter.
“For every first, second and third shift, we would be offering the same services we offer in the first shift, and what that would look like to us is baby steps, so we are breaking it down and adding in chunks so we won’t be 24/7 immediately until we can get all the funding we need,” Singleton said.
That’s where the IRC needs your help. Their goal is to raise $80,000 at their Dignity event, which is scheduled for Thursday night at the Cadillac Garage.
There will be music, a meal and client stories.