Homelessness

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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