Raleigh, NC Bans Sleeping in Moore, Nash Squares Downtown FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 18:19:31 -0400


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FWD  North Carolina News & Observer - October 22, 1998


CITY BANS SLEEPING IN MOORE, NASH SQUARES DOWNTOWN

By Matthew Eisley
North Carolina News & Observer Staff Writer


RALEIGH -- The City Council broke a long-standing deadlock Wednesday and
outlawed sleeping in Moore and Nash squares downtown, cheering merchants
who complained that homeless campers were threatening their businesses.

Because of confusion about the council's action, it wasn't clear when the
ban will start. Some council members assumed that it would go into effect
whenever the city's winter shelter extends its operations to 24 hours a
day. But the motion, by councilman Kieran Shanahan, did not include that
condition.

The council passed the ban 6-2 only after its members voted to expand the
hours of the shelter on South Wilmington Street, which has been open only
at night. The shelter opens Nov. 1 -- but the council will decide later
what the city must do to convert it to full-time use and how to pay for its
operation.

With that progress on an expanded homeless shelter, Julie Shea Graw and
Benson Kirkman, who had opposed the sleeping ban, voted in favor of it.
They joined Shanahan, Paul Coble, John Odom and Mayor Tom Fetzer.

Only Brad Thompson and Stephanie Fanjul continued to oppose the sleeping
ban. Thompson has said that it is unfair to poor people. Fanjul said she
doubts it is enforceable. When the ban passed, the owners of several
restaurants around Moore Square celebrated with handshakes and big smiles
of relief. "We made progress today," Shanahan said. "It's a good day."

Now the city will ask the Wake commissioners to help pay the additional
cost of $165,000 to $380,000 to convert the shelter to full-time use and to
provide services there for the homeless. Nonprofit agencies would feed the
shelter's residents two meals a day.

The city first turned the former Montgomery Green building on South
Wilmington Street into a "temporary" homeless shelter three years ago. City
and county leaders envision a permanent shelter and homeless service
center. But the council is divided over whether to consider creating that
permanent shelter in the Montgomery Green building.

When the council decided in August 1995 to move the city's winter nighttime
shelter from South Saunders Street to the Montgomery Green building, it
said that location would be used for only one year. But it is about to open
for the fourth winter, and it may be used at least one more before a
permanent shelter is ready.

In a 5-3 vote, the council rejected Thompson's suggestion to promise to
move out of the Montgomery Green building for good if a permanent shelter
at another site is not in the works by April. Thompson said the council
should stick by its initial promise to make the Montgomery Green shelter
temporary to keep it from hurting the adjacent Walnut Terrace public
housing complex.

"We need larger acreage; we need a different place," he said. Only Graw and
Fanjul voted with Thompson. Fetzer, Coble and Shanahan said that committing
to close the shelter next spring might leave the city's homeless without a
shelter next winter and might rule out the best option for a permanent
site. "I will not vote for anything that puts us in jeopardy if we do not
have a new facility in place," Coble said.

And Fetzer said the Montgomery Green shelter has had little crime and few
other problems from its residents, with no harm to Walnut Terrace. Its
budget this year is $294,000, which the city and county split. "We've got
to find a facility and get it up and running," Fetzer said. "We may never
find an ideal resolution. But what we have here is an opportunity to move
forward. We've got a building, and it's ready to go."

Meanwhile, the search for a permanent shelter site goes on after five years
of talk between the city and county. At Graw's urging, the council agreed
to study the possibility of using the O'Neal Motors car dealership at 1938
S. Wilmington Street, or other land nearby. The council then debated the
park sleeping ban in a convoluted series of motions and substitute motions.

First, the council passed by a 5-3 vote Thompson's motion to ban camping in
all city parks -- something the City Code already prohibits -- once the
24-hour-a-day shelter is open. Joining Thompson were Graw, Fanjul, Kirkman
and Odom. Voting no were Fetzer, Coble and Shanahan. Fetzer pointed out
that Thompson's motion wouldn't keep people from sleeping in the park.

The matter of the sleeping ban -- and when it should go into effect --
could come up again at a council meeting soon. When Shanahan first brought
up the ban Wednesday, he proposed to make it effective once the full-time
shelter was open. But the second time he mentioned it -- and the third
time, when it passed -- his motion contained no such condition. He left the
meeting early without clarifying his intention.

After the meeting, as several council members and staffers tried to figure
out exactly what the council had passed, City Attorney Thomas McCormick
said the result appeared to be an immediate sleeping ban.

Fetzer turned to Odom and said, "Just remember: What can be done can be
undone."

By MATTHEW EISLEY [North Carolina News & Observer Staff Writer]

END FORWARD
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receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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FWD  North Carolina News & Observer - October 22, 1998



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>CITY BANS SLEEPING IN MOORE, NASH
SQUARES DOWNTOWN


By Matthew Eisley 

North Carolina News & Observer Staff Writer

</paraindent>


RALEIGH -- The City Council broke a long-standing deadlock Wednesday
and outlawed sleeping in Moore and Nash squares downtown, cheering
merchants who complained that homeless campers were threatening their
businesses. 


Because of confusion about the council's action, it wasn't clear when
the ban will start. Some council members assumed that it would go into
effect whenever the city's winter shelter extends its operations to 24
hours a day. But the motion, by councilman Kieran Shanahan, did not
include that condition. 


The council passed the ban 6-2 only after its members voted to expand
the hours of the shelter on South Wilmington Street, which has been
open only at night. The shelter opens Nov. 1 -- but the council will
decide later what the city must do to convert it to full-time use and
how to pay for its operation. 


With that progress on an expanded homeless shelter, Julie Shea Graw and
Benson Kirkman, who had opposed the sleeping ban, voted in favor of it.
They joined Shanahan, Paul Coble, John Odom and Mayor Tom Fetzer. 


Only Brad Thompson and Stephanie Fanjul continued to oppose the
sleeping ban. Thompson has said that it is unfair to poor people.
Fanjul said she doubts it is enforceable. When the ban passed, the
owners of several restaurants around Moore Square celebrated with
handshakes and big smiles of relief. "We made progress today," Shanahan
said. "It's a good day." 


Now the city will ask the Wake commissioners to help pay the additional
cost of $165,000 to $380,000 to convert the shelter to full-time use
and to provide services there for the homeless. Nonprofit agencies
would feed the shelter's residents two meals a day. 


The city first turned the former Montgomery Green building on South
Wilmington Street into a "temporary" homeless shelter three years ago.
City and county leaders envision a permanent shelter and homeless
service center. But the council is divided over whether to consider
creating that permanent shelter in the Montgomery Green building. 


When the council decided in August 1995 to move the city's winter
nighttime shelter from South Saunders Street to the Montgomery Green
building, it said that location would be used for only one year. But it
is about to open for the fourth winter, and it may be used at least one
more before a permanent shelter is ready. 


In a 5-3 vote, the council rejected Thompson's suggestion to promise to
move out of the Montgomery Green building for good if a permanent
shelter at another site is not in the works by April. Thompson said the
council should stick by its initial promise to make the Montgomery
Green shelter temporary to keep it from hurting the adjacent Walnut
Terrace public housing complex. 


"We need larger acreage; we need a different place," he said. Only Graw
and Fanjul voted with Thompson. Fetzer, Coble and Shanahan said that
committing to close the shelter next spring might leave the city's
homeless without a shelter next winter and might rule out the best
option for a permanent site. "I will not vote for anything that puts us
in jeopardy if we do not have a new facility in place," Coble said. 


And Fetzer said the Montgomery Green shelter has had little crime and
few other problems from its residents, with no harm to Walnut Terrace.
Its budget this year is $294,000, which the city and county split.
"We've got to find a facility and get it up and running," Fetzer said.
"We may never find an ideal resolution. But what we have here is an
opportunity to move forward. We've got a building, and it's ready to
go." 


Meanwhile, the search for a permanent shelter site goes on after five
years of talk between the city and county. At Graw's urging, the
council agreed to study the possibility of using the O'Neal Motors car
dealership at 1938 S. Wilmington Street, or other land nearby. The
council then debated the park sleeping ban in a convoluted series of
motions and substitute motions. 


First, the council passed by a 5-3 vote Thompson's motion to ban
camping in all city parks -- something the City Code already prohibits
-- once the 24-hour-a-day shelter is open. Joining Thompson were Graw,
Fanjul, Kirkman and Odom. Voting no were Fetzer, Coble and Shanahan.
Fetzer pointed out that Thompson's motion wouldn't keep people from
sleeping in the park. 


The matter of the sleeping ban -- and when it should go into effect --
could come up again at a council meeting soon. When Shanahan first
brought up the ban Wednesday, he proposed to make it effective once the
full-time shelter was open. But the second time he mentioned it -- and
the third time, when it passed -- his motion contained no such
condition. He left the meeting early without clarifying his intention.



After the meeting, as several council members and staffers tried to
figure out exactly what the council had passed, City Attorney Thomas
McCormick said the result appeared to be an immediate sleeping ban. 


Fetzer turned to Odom and said, "Just remember: What can be done can be
undone." 


By MATTHEW EISLEY [North Carolina News & Observer Staff Writer]


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


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ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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