City pursues center for homeless

·2 min read

Jun. 17—HIGH POINT — City leaders have taken another step in the planning for a possible "day center" for the homeless in High Point.

The City Council's Community Development Committee on Tuesday endorsed a plan to spend $588,651 in federal CARES Act funds to secure a site for a facility that would provide services that include essentials like showers and laundry facilities, as well as educational and training opportunities and support for mental and physical health care.

"It's an opportunity to meet a need that the city has had for a long time," said Mike McNair, director of the Community Development and Housing Department. "We've all had numerous conversations with people who said, 'Why don't we have a day center?' And the answer has always been, 'We don't have the funding.' Now, I believe that situation has changed."

The city received the money last year as part of the first coronavirus relief package approved by Congress.

In addition, the city in April submitted a request to Rep. Kathy Manning's office for a $3 million earmark for a proposed day center that's pending in Congress.

McNair said a couple of possible sites for a facility are under consideration, but nothing has been acquired yet.

"The city long term would not own or operate this," he said. "The intent is to get the homeless-provider community to take it from there."

Open Door Ministries, a High Point nonprofit that works with the homeless, announced Tuesday that it is researching the feasibility of a day center.

Executive Director Ryan Ross said the idea has gained momentum as more COVID-19 relief money has become available.

He said a day center would complement the services the agency provides at its current location at 400 N. Centennial St., which include a shelter, serving daily meals and helping clients obtain permanent housing.

"Our thinking is that we could impact the homelessness and drug addiction and violence in High Point if we could do a day center and get some of these people off the street and better treat them," Ross said. "There's just a lot of things we could do — job readiness, having some more treatment work with housing case management, helping guys get IDs — that you can't do in a shelter environment."

He said Open Door Ministries would look to partner with other agencies to operate the day center.

Ross said Transitions Homeless Center in Columbia, South Carolina is "kind of my vision of what it would be. They're kind of the benchmark of what day centers are."

According to its website, that organization provides homeless adults a place to spend the day and obtain services, as well as housing. — 336-888-3531

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