Guilford County looks for ways to address homeless housing needs

Guilford County looks for ways to address homeless housing needs

5:07pm Feb 24, 2022
Guilford County Commissioners discuss housing and other issues facing the homeless during a recent work session. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Guilford County Commissioners are considering a proposal to help address homelessness in the community. That includes efforts to find additional temporary shelter opportunities at local hotels.

The Guilford County Continuum of Care (CoC) is a collaboration of several nonprofits, local governments, and community partners that provides temporary and stable housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness. It’s part of a federally funded initiative through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

County Commissioners recently reviewed a funding proposal from CoC for more than $300,000 to hire additional staff to expand programs. Guilford County currently spends around $84,000 a month to help house the homeless.

Carlvena Foster, vice chair of the local Board of Commissioners, says one of the biggest concerns right now is finding enough spaces for emergency shelter.

“We are talking about single parents, single moms with children who are sleeping in their cars, people that are being evicted," says Foster. "And the challenge here is there is not enough housing to accommodate the growing number of homeless people in our county."

Foster says Guilford CoC is reaching out to see if more hotels are willing to open up rooms that are paid for through the program. The proposal for additional funds will be revisited in the coming weeks.

According to data from county officials, last year there were more than 480 homeless people in Guilford County. The 2022 Point-in-Time Count is currently underway in the county and that data is expected to be released in about a week.

Foster says discussions are also underway about creating a 24/7 hotline to meet emergency housing needs for community members, especially during nighttime hours.

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