Warehouse recommended as location for feeding Raleigh's homeless - WJTV News Channel 12

Warehouse recommended as location for feeding Raleigh's homeless

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A task force in charge with coming up with a solution on feeding the homeless in downtown Raleigh is making its recommendation to the City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee.

For years groups served meals to downtown Raleigh's homeless at Moore Square, a common place where many gather. But in August, Raleigh Police threatened those organizations with arrest if they continued to distribute food in the park.

"I was like, 'I don't know what is going to happen if they cut the food off,'" said Ben Moose, who is homeless. "A lot of people were going to be hungry."

So the city launched a task force to evaluate how to distribute food to the needy in light of concerns about how food is given away at Moore Square.

The task force is recommending that the meals be offered at a city-owned warehouse behind the previous Salvation Army location across from Moore Square on Person Street.

The goal is to offer the warehouse for charities while planning a permanent site.

Caffe Luna restaurant owner Parker Kennedy, who is on the task force, said the solution is a win-win for everyone as it both bans the park as a feeding site as well as helps the homeless population.

"It's not appropriate to open up the back of your trunk to throw out sandwiches to people in the park," Kennedy said, adding the warehouse will "provide them with hand washing opportunities, tables and chairs, bathrooms, and shelter."

Stephen Smith, with Human Beans Together, explained the warehouse "will be out of the weather, warm in the winter and have a fixed up inside."

Human Beans Together is a group dedicated to helping to alleviate hunger and homelessness by distributing food, clothing and other necessities to those in need.

If the recommendation is approved, the City Council must budget money to improve the facility and add temporary restrooms. Raleigh officials are working on cost estimates for the site, which would be open on weekends only.

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