RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh leaders have an ambitious new plan to tackle the homeless problem downtown.
The city and Wake County will share the cost of a $60,000, 10-year effort that will begin with a series of public forums.
Business manager Duck Marler says recent efforts, like posters discouraging panhandling, are needed to keep people coming downtown.
"As people try to enter businesses downtown, thay are being accosted and do not want to deal with the hassle," he said.
There is another side to homelessness that is not visible on Raleigh streets.
Before her asthma took over, Shanita Smith had a job and a home. Now, the single mother of two is living in a shelter. She says there are many people just like her and the current programs are not working.
"You feel like you're alone, like nobody's really trying because they think we've put ourselves in this situation. That's not the case all the time," Smith said.
City leaders say they recognize the concerns.
The city council approved $10,000 to hire consultants to come up with ideas to help end homelessess.
Raleigh will eventually develop an action plan to give homeless people better options.