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Raleigh leaders seek compromise with groups feeding homeless

Posted September 16, 2013

— After a social media campaign shed light on a City of Raleigh requirement that groups giving meals to the homeless have a permit to do so or face arrest, political leaders are looking to those same organizations for suggestions to help them save face.

City leaders invited representatives of church groups, businesses and charities to a meeting Monday evening to devise an alternative to open feeding in Moore Square.

"It is a meeting where we are asking questions and trying to gather input," said Debra King, chairwoman of the Wake County Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. "It is key to hear from everybody in the room."

The permit requirement, on the books since 1998 but rarely enforced, is part of the city's rules governing parks. Interim City Manager Perry James has said that police stepped up enforcement after reports of litter and rodent problems in the area.

Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said her officers were called to Moore Square more than 3,000 times over the past two years, almost six times the number of calls to Nash Park, a nearby downtown park. 

Since the Aug. 25 claim by members of Love Wins Ministries that police threatened them with arrest, enforcement has been on hold while the city tries to find a compromise.

Love Wins' pastor and director Hugh Hollowell said he is skeptical.

Bonner Gaylord Raleigh leaders consider options for feeding homeless

"We are worried that this is predetermined, that this is choreographed, just like apparently the idea to throw us out of the park three weeks ago was choreographed," Hollowell said. "We hope that we are wrong and this is (city leaders) exercising good will."

City Council members have said they'd like to expand the number of groups serving the homeless in Raleigh and find another location where they can do their good works.

"Please give the city another chance, allow us to work with (the charitable groups) to come to a conclusion and a new system that works better for all citizens," said City Council member Bonner Gaylord.

Some of the food ministries say Moore Square is where the homeless congregate and therefore the best place to bring those meals.

The city has said they hope to designate an alternate location by November.

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  • rroadrunner99 Sep 17, 6:24 p.m.

    So we all now know exactly how the elected officials of the City of Raleigh feels about the poor and down trodden of the city.They seem to not want the poor anywhere. But all of a sudden they thought they might lose some votes, so they had to save face very quickly. In my humble opinion they are not sincere now not one bit!!

  • pickles Sep 17, 4:43 p.m.

    Sure, because the economy has been in the toilet for 5-6+ years.

    But why is only Moore Square affected? There hasn't been this much of a rise of homeless population in other areas of downtown.

  • My3centsworth Sep 17, 4:08 p.m.

    Just because an organization is a charity does not give them the right to do what and whenever they want irrespective of local ordinances.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 16, 7:55 p.m.

    pickles - "I don't know about you, but I have been frequenting the City Market / Moore Square area for years and I have definitely seen a rise in the number of homeless in this area during the days and evenings on the weekends."

    Sure, because the economy has been in the toilet for 5-6+ years.

    But homeless in great numbers have still wandered downtown Raleigh for decades.

    It was so bad when I worked at Carolina Power in the 80s, any woman employee leaving the building after 5:30pm had an armed guard accompany them to their car.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 16, 7:53 p.m.

    razor - "Having so many homeless and out of work people along with the hungry which includes children is a badge of honor for the direct results of the republican party's politics."

    Ohhh quit!!!

    The homeless were wandering the streets of Raleigh long before the Republicans finally won significant legislative seats here.

    More voters need to wise up and understand neither political party is doing the common people any good anymore because they're all too concerned with their own issues and their own pockets long before they give a darn about ours.

    So stop trying to blame this all on one party all the time. It only makes one look biased or ignorant, or both!!!

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 16, 7:46 p.m.

    pickles - "Why must one block of the downtown area be the only place that these charities do their work?"

    I can almost guarantee you that they don't. It probably just seems that way to you because that's where you live.

  • razor2 Sep 16, 7:44 p.m.

    Having so many homeless and out of work people along with the
    hungry which includes children is a badge of honor for the direct results of the republican party's politics. While feeding the
    greed of the wealthy politicians and their protected donors the
    real cost of their actions are paid for by people like you see here being helped by the generosity of others who often times are
    a step away from homelessness themselves. Yet the Entitled class
    (Wealthy business owners and corporate ceo's) continue to reap
    record profits and constantly complain the loudest and live the best among us.. While everyone is suppose to be able to live the American dream why are their so many that do everything in their power to stop that from happening thru actions or deeds? The next time you see a homeless person receiving food or other services to help them survive instead of complaining about them how about doing something positive to help them get out of the situation....

  • pickles Sep 16, 7:39 p.m.

    Didn't they know the homeless were in downtown Raleigh when they decided to open their business there?

    The homeless have wandered Raleigh's streets for decades.
    -- IHearThatTrainAComin

    I don't know about you, but I have been frequenting the City Market / Moore Square area for years and I have definitely seen a rise in the number of homeless in this area during the days and evenings on the weekends. But, yeah, those business owners are the ones that were wrong to start their businesses there before the problem got out of hand. They should just bail, and we can make the entire Moore Square / City Market area a homeless hangout. Good idea.

  • pickles Sep 16, 7:30 p.m.

    I worked downtown in the 80s and 90s. The homeless wandered those streets then. So they were there before you even moved in, yet you made the choice to move there anyway. -- IHearThatTrainAComin

    I have worked in downtown longer than I have lived here and was very aware of the situation before I moved to downtown. As I said before, it is time to move the location or spread it across multiple locations in downtown and the city as a whole. Why is this such a ridiculous request? Why must one block of the downtown area be the only place that these charities do their work? Some people drive their own cars into downtown to get this free meal. Why can't we break up the crowd a little and have them drive to a different location? Why must this be an all or nothing situation for you?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 16, 7:13 p.m.

    pickles - "I've dealt with it for the past 12 years that I have lived in downtown"

    I worked downtown in the 80s and 90s. The homeless wandered those streets then. So they were there before you even moved in, yet you made the choice to move there anyway.

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