Homelessness

Hanily Sam / Flickr Creative Commons

Panhandling has been a hot political topic in the city of Greensboro this year. 

Gov. Roy Cooper announces a reduction in the number of homeless veterans. Seated are Secretary of the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Larry D. Hall (left) and Terry Allebaugh of the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness
Jay Price / WUNC

North Carolina is having more success in its long-running battle to reduce homelessness among veterans.

View from the hilltop at Carver Pond Apartments on Meriwether Drive in Durham, North Carolina
Ildar Sagdejev

Housing advocates in the Cape Fear region are offering landlords an incentive to help end homelessness. Those who register to rent to a homeless tenant will be guaranteed up to $2,000 in case the tenant breaks the lease or damages the property.

Rendering of the Oak City Center, which is scheduled to open in February 2019.
Courtesy of Wake County

Wake County officials broke ground this morning on a community center for people experiencing, or at imminent risk, of homelessness.

Abbie Szymanski runs the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. She said the new Oak City Cares center will offer a one-stop coordinated intake process to let clients access numerous services. This alleviates the client's burden of traveling from one shelter or agency to another and having to explain their story ad nauseam, Szymansky said.

Homelessness often looks different for veterans living in rural communities: Rather than living in the streets, they may be couch-surfacing, sleeping in their cars, or camping in the woods.

UNC at Greensboro

Homelessness and hunger are two big issues that plague the Triad. Since 2006, North Carolina has seen a 56 percent increase in homeless children and youth, according to the North Carolina Homeless Education Program.

a homeless woman
Jim Forest / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/9it6dq

Homeless women, and people who are already receiving public assistance, are less likely to be approved for federal disability benefits, according to NC State University researchers.

Durham, Affordable Housing, Housing for New Hope
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

It is not as easy to find a place to live in the city of Durham as it used to be just a few years ago. The “Bull City” has made its share of “best places to live” lists, thanks to population growth, a booming economy and a transformed downtown.

A growing number of homeless veterans are women. But there are few places that specialize in helping them get back on their feet.

Chaplain Lynn Holloway inspects the sign of a homeless man at an outdoor camp
Durham Rescue Mission

The Durham Rescue Mission is sending out teams to find homeless people wherever they are this holiday season.

Service members with Other-Than-Honorable discharges receive no veterans benefits and are much more likely to become homeless. But the military has no consistent standards about who gets a dreaded "OTH."

Shortly after Barack Obama became President in 2009, he announced an ambitious goal -- to end homelessness among military veterans by the end of 2015. Now, at the deadline, results are mixed.

A picture of a homeless man and a shopping cart.
Matthew Woitunski / Wikipedia

Greensboro's homeless population is now guaranteed a safe place to spend the night when the weather drops to dangerous temperatures. This "white flag" emergency system was created after the city's two shelters turned people away on such nights last winter because they reached capacity.

A picture of a homeless man and a shopping cart.
Matthew Woitunski / Wikipedia

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in opening a new men's homeless shelter in Chapel Hill this week.

The new SECU Community House will replace the one in the old Town Hall building, and it will offer more permanent beds. It's still the only shelter for adult single men in Orange County.

IFC Executive Director Michael Reinke says he's been working in transitional housing services for 28 years.

A picture of a homeless person sleeping on the street.
Franco Folini / Creative Commons

Dozens of people are waking up outside in Greensboro today.

A vigil was held last night to honor nine people who died in that city this year, while living in homelessness.

Michelle Kennedy is executive director at the Interactive Resource Center. She says that number might be higher.

“So it’s hard to ever really have an accurate number of how many people we've lost while experiencing homelessness in this city, or really any other city,” Kennedy says.

A picture of a hand in a fingerless glove.
ADRIGU / Flickr

Charities are urging shoppers not to forget the less fortunate during the winter holidays.

The Durham Rescue Mission and Salvation Army are collecting gifts for children.

Other shelters are asking people to drop off essentials for people who are out in the cold.

“In our winter ministry, in which we distribute clothes out in the community, we need scarves and hats and gloves and coats,” says Lynn Daniel.


    

A new report from the Brookings Institution ranks four North Carolina cities among the top 15 in the country where poverty is soaring fastest: Raleigh, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro-High Point. 

In 2011, a new videogame premiered that not many expected would be a hit. The game is called Spent and it is about surviving homelessness.

Spent is a collaboration  between Urban Ministries of Durham and the interactive firm, McKinney.

A judge in Durham dropped criminal charges Wednesday against 14 people who were cited for panhandling. Charges were filed under a new ordinance that makes it illegal to beg for money in parts of the city.

Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey dropped the charges as part of the court’s effort to keep offenders out of jail under the condition they not violate the ordinance again and seek help with health, addiction, housing or employment issues.

The city of Raleigh hosts the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival this weekend.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsolson/ / flickr

Charities in Raleigh could soon be using a vacant warehouse across from Moore Square to distribute food on weekends. 

City staff members submitted that recommendation this week.  The city came to the agreement with local charity groups after volunteers said this summer police threatened to arrest them for handing out food. 

A city ordinance prohibits food distribution without a permit, but charities said they had been doing it for years on the weekends when soup kitchens are closed. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Food_not_bombs_2.JPG

  

Last night leaders of local charities met to discuss options for distributing food to the poor in downtown Raleigh.

The meeting is part of a continuing negotiation between the organizations and city officials after Raleigh police stopped a group from distributing food in August.  Host Frank Stasio talks with News & Observer reporter Colin Campbell about the latest developments

Raleigh NC
Dave DeWitt

Raleigh is taking more public comment about its food distribution ordinance. 

Monday night's meeting comes nearly a month after police threatened to arrest volunteer groups that were handing out food to the homeless in Moore Square.  A city ordinance prohibits food distribution in public parks without a permit, but at least one group says it had been giving out food on the weekends for six years. 

Mital Patel Triangle Business Law
Leoneda Inge

A group of community and business leaders spent the night under the stars last night, right across from the Durham Performing Arts Center.  The United Way event was designed to bring attention to homelessness and poverty in the Triangle. 

They made their beds out of cardboard refrigerator boxes – laid out or propped up on the grass between DPAC and the railroad tracks.

Kari Stoltz is Triangle Market President for Bank of America.  As she prepared for the night, Stoltz grabbed her khaki baseball cap.

In North Carolina, a fight is brewing over the homeless in the capital city of Raleigh. Elected leaders have asked charitable and religious groups to stop their long-standing tradition of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends.

But advocates for the poor say the city is trying to push the homeless out of a neighborhood that business leaders want to spruce up.

'I Will Arrest You'

Almost every day, the Rev. Hugh Hollowell walks through Moore Square, a centuries-old city park in downtown Raleigh.

Dr. Leslie Smith speaks on the State of Things.
boonesunriserotary.org

This episode was a rebroadcast.  The program originally aired on Monday, February 25, 2013.

When Leslie Smith was 24 years old, she was in a fire. After spending 3 months at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, she was released. Smith told Host Frank Stasio “It took me about ten years to recover from those injuries.”

Raleigh NC
Dave DeWitt

A city council committee in Raleigh has agreed to review a ban on allowing food distribution in a downtown city park.

The council's Law and Public Safety Committee held a three-hour public hearing Wednesday to listen to residents who were angry about the ban.

It was enforced last weekend, when charitable and religious groups that normally distribute food in Moore Square were stopped by the police. They were following a 1998 ordinance preventing food distribution that officials had previously ignored.

Dr. Leslie Smith speaks on the State of Things.
boonesunriserotary.org

When Leslie Smith was 24 years old, she was in a fire. After spending 3 months at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, she was released. Smith told Host Frank Stasio “It took me about ten years to recover from those injuries.”

“I had bandages from my neck down to my thighs where my burns were, and then from my thighs down to my ankles where they had taken skin to do skin grafting operations. So I literally was covered from ankle to neck in bandages.”

More beds are available for the homeless in Durham as the need for shelters continues to rise across North Carolina.  The Durham Rescue Mission has opened a new facility with beds for 88 men as well as a large kitchen and dining area.  The Triangle is among North Carolina's metropolitan areas where more people are looking for a meal and a place to sleep.  Durham Rescue Mission COO Rob Tart says shelters are also trying to adapt to new needs for the homeless population.

"I've been doing this for 17 years and we had very few intact families that showed up 17 years ago," says Tart.

Workers across the state will try to get an accurate count this week of the homeless population. Each year the federal Housing and Urban Development agency, HUD, requires states to calculate the number of people who are homeless. This count takes place at shelters, as well as tallying the people at tent camps, under bridges and even those staying with relatives.  Darryl Kosciak is Executive Director of Partners Ending Homelessness, in Greensboro.

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