Raleigh votes to expand help for the homeless

December 23, 2016 by  

Earlier this month, members of the Raleigh City Council got a standing ovation from residents who had packed the chamber for their meeting.

The reason for the cheers was the council’s unanimous vote to expand its work with the homeless by moving an outreach center to a larger space.

Currently, the Oak City Outreach Center serves the homeless population. The vote allows advocates to buy a permanent site at a warehouse on South Wilmington Street. The vote also authorizes $3.1m to be spent in the effort. Wake County commissioners have final approval of the project.

The outreach center was created in 2014 as a partnership among the county, city, and local charities, who saw a need to help when police started enforcing an old policy that prevented people from distributing meals in Moore Square. To meet the need, volunteers gave out over 190,000 meals on Person Street, but the site is temporary. The new space is a permanent site, and will provide everything from counseling to laundry facilities.

Catholic Charities’ Rick Miller-Haraway says the center will allow various agencies to feed more people, and provide the types of services that will help them transition out of being homeless. Answering concerns that this could bring homeless people to Raleigh, Miller-Haraway says the homeless are already here.

Agencies like this could benefit by working with flyer printing companies, which can create handouts with directions to the location and a list of amenities.