GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County leaders came together for the first time to form a task force to help those experiencing homelessness.
More than a dozen representatives from Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County met at the old Guilford County Courthouse on Tuesday.
“It’s an ongoing cycle that we have to address,” said Skip Alston, chairman of the Guilford County Commissioners. “A topic and a problem that’s affecting all of us.”
People who are experiencing homelessness are living along busy streets and setting up camps in Center City Park.
“We need a single port of entry for our homeless community to be able to go to in order to get help,” he said.
Alston told FOX8 that people living on the streets need resources available all the time.
“We need a long-term solution for mental health,” he said. “We need a long-term solution for drug addiction.”
The Guilford County Continuum of Care reports that more than 1,400 people stayed in shelters in 2021. It doesn’t include people who call the streets their home.
Ideas like a street outreach team, case management workers in libraries and temporary housing for people in recovery may help people in tough situations.
“They need…some long-term treatment. To put them into a detox center for a week or two is not going to solve the problem,” Alston said. “They’re going to go right back to what they’re used to. We have to stop that revolving door.”
Funding is being explored for the task force. Alston told FOX8 they’re going to have to use local, state and federal resources to get people on a stable path.
“$8 million is just seed money,” he said. “That’s just to get us started, so we can have something to talk about, but that’s nowhere near the amount of money that collectively we’re going to have to try to pull in in order to solve this problem.”
Alston wants people experiencing homelessness and experts on the topic to join the task force.
“It’s going to take time and money in order to address this,” he said. “This is not one of those situations where we’re going to solve in one or two meetings.”
He is planning on meeting with the task force once a month and eventually will take them into the community.