Raleigh approves warehouse as location for feeding homeless
by WNCN Staff
For years groups served meals to downtown Raleigh's homeless at Moore Square, a common place where many gather.
RALEIGH, N.C. -
City Council approved the use of a vacant warehouse near Moore Square as a temporary food distribution facility for Raleigh's homeless.
Last month, a task force in charge with coming up with a solution for feeding the homeless in downtown Raleigh recommended that the meals be offered at a city-owned warehouse behind the previous Salvation Army location across from Moore Square on Person Street.
City Council unanimously approved the plan during Tuesday's meeting.
The temporary food distribution will operate as a partnership between the city and private agencies that provide food to the needy. Meals will only be served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until a permanent facility can be established.
City staff estimates it will cost $111,000 to renovate the warehouse, including adding temporary restrooms and hand-washing facilities. The yearly cost to operate the facility is estimated at $58,000.
Until the facility opens, City Council has directed that the city's policy regarding Moore Square not be changed, meaning:
There will be no enforcement or arrests for any food distribution activity;
The City staff will continue educating food providers about restrictions in the park and on sidewalks;
Once alternate sites have been secured, offer groups wanting to serve food to the needy alternatives to the park;
Ask food distribution operations to move out of Moore Square only when a permitted activity/event is scheduled to be held in the park.
For years groups served meals to downtown Raleigh's homeless at Moore Square, a common place where many gather. But in August, Raleigh Police threatened those organizations with arrest if they continued to distribute food in the park.
Following a public outcry, as well as unwanted attention in national media, City Council directed Raleigh Police not to enforce the ordinance.
The city is also waiving the permit fee for groups that feed the homeless.