Charitable groups who want to feed the homeless near Moore Square may soon have a building in which to do so.
A task force charged with balancing the needs of the homeless with complaints from area residents and business owners this week suggested a temporary food distribution facility followed by the creation of a permanent space.
The Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee Tuesday approved recommendations from the Food Distribution Task Force. The group was created after intense public outcry in late August, when charitable groups were told to stop distributing food in the park or face arrest.
The task force recommends a temporary food distribution center, an awareness campaign educating organizations on feeding the homeless, other “care points” where groups can distribute food throughout Raleigh and a 10-year plan for a permanent facility to feed and assist homeless with other needs.
Their plan calls for the temporary facility to be located near Moore Square, behind the former Salvation Army building at 215 S. Person St. The 3,200-square-foot warehouse was part of the former Salvation Army complex that is now owned by the City of Raleigh.
If approved by the full Council, the temporary center could open in spring 2014, serving food on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The building’s renovation costs are estimated at $111,000 and include adding temporary restrooms along with tables, chairs, trash cans and refrigerators to the space. The estimated yearly cost of operations is $58,000. City staff said they hope contributions from charitable organizations will defray the costs.
Assistant City Manager Daniel Howe said Wake County will not contribute to the project, but agreed to contribute to a future permanent facility.
“The county did say to us that they were unable at this time to provide any financial assistance to any of the temporary solutions,” Howe said.
Task force members said they will have recommendations for the permanent “one-stop shop” facility within six months.
Councilor John Odom questioned whether the temporary facility would affect recent investments in the Moore Square area, a statement echoed by Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin.
“Your point is a valid point, and that is something we need to address in the long-term solution,” Baldwin said.
The City Council will discuss the item Tuesday.