Homeless Advocates Want Permanent Space

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Advocates for the homeless want to continue to use Moore Square park as a place where Raleigh’s poor can find a meal, some shelter and a helpful hand.

This was one of the major takeaways from Monday’s public meeting between city staff and charitable organizations that looked into where and how groups would continue to provide food for the homeless.

Sticky notes on the map indicate locations where groups already distribute or want to distribute food to the homeless.

Ariella Monti / Raleigh Public Record

Sticky notes on the map indicate locations where groups already distribute or want to distribute food to the homeless.

The meeting came after intense public outcry when charitable groups were told in late August to stop distributing food in the park or face arrest. A national media firestorm erupted and an emergency Law and Public Safety committee meeting was held to discuss the next steps.

Councilors agreed to allow groups to continue distributing food in the park without having to pay the permit fee until something more permanent is decided.

About 100 people, including city staff, attending Monday’s meeting of the new City’s Food Distribution Task force, which organized attendees into smaller groups and asked them to focus on four main questions.

Questions Asked of the Groups

1. Identify current food distribution locations you serve on the weekends, weekdays or both. Please provide if it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Please be as specific as possible with address locations for mapping purposes.
2. List your priority of where you would like to distribute food. Please list your organization if this is a location that can be used for food distribution as a possibility.
3. Criteria for feeding locations – what do you need to distribute food safely, humanely and compassionately. For example, bus line, sinks for hand washing, etc.
4. What does success look like to you in six months?

The purpose, said Casa’s Debra King, is to find out what is already being done and what groups need going forward.

“What does the picture we currently have really and truly look like?” she said.

After about 45 minutes of working in groups, group leaders reported their results, which seemed similar across the board.

Among other things, advocates wanted a permanent location with a climate-controlled shelter that would provide food, bathrooms and social resources. They wanted this location to be near a transit center and ideally in Moore Square.

“I don’t want you to leave this meeting thinking we did not hear you,” said Octavia Rainey, a community activist and group facilitator.

A volunteer from Love Wins participates in the group discussion. Love Wins has been an outspoken advocate for change since being threatened with arrest in late August.

Ariella Monti / Raleigh Public Record

A volunteer from Love Wins participates in the group discussion. Love Wins has been an outspoken advocate for change since being threatened with arrest in late August.

King also encouraged attendees to join the task force that will take the results from Monday’s meeting and use them to work toward a more permanent solution. The task force will meet three more times before presenting its findings to the Law and Public Safety Committee Nov. 26.

2 thoughts on “Homeless Advocates Want Permanent Space

  1. Moore Square can simply no longer be an option for feeding the homeless. it sounds a bit harsh but City leaders have to look at what’s best for the City as a whole. and what is best for the City as a whole is to ‘clean up’ Moore Square, allow for new development that increases tax revenues to the City in addition to economic benefits. homeless people hanging around all day, throwing cigarette butts and other trash on the ground and panhandling is detrimental to those efforts, period. People don’t like to go through areas that they deem as ‘unsafe’. Like it or not, many people do not feel comfortable in Moore Square because of these ‘issues’.

    This is not to say that leaders should not look to alternatives to Moore Square that allow non-profits who want to feed the homeless. This said, no neighborhood wants to bet that ‘alternative’ understandably. This includes Southeast Raleigh.

  2. Get em outta there. ASAP. Time to clean the area up. Moore square is a dirthole of a place where I know of several friends who have been mugged there leaving work at night. Move the charitable orgs over to Lions Park or somewhere else.