On September 16th there was a community meeting at Marbles Museum to discuss the way the City of Raleigh treats it’s most vulnerable community members and how we can do more to support the people and organizations that sacrifice time and money to help them. This was on the heels of news that city officials had explored options for dissuading groups like Love Wins from feeding the homeless in Moore Square and around the city.
Part of the meeting focused on the City Council’s order to create a Task Force to address the real issue - how to better serve our homeless population. It’s purpose “is to bring together stakeholders that will work as a community to develop a dependable and sustainable approach to distributing food to those in need that is beneficial for everyone that lives, works or visits Raleigh.”
At the direction of the Council, the Task Force will seek the input of a diverse group of agencies, reach out to all community and faith-based organizations for help and draft specific steps and recommendations for the City Council and the city. My hope is that this group of community members, religious groups, businesses and city officials will guide us to a solution that better serves some of our most at-risk neighbors.
I will continue to post news about this as it comes up. Below is the text of the official city press release about the task force.
Prepared by: Public Affairs Department
For more information: City Manager’s Office, 919-996-3070
September 17, 2013
MOORE SQUARE FOOD DISTRIBUTION ALTERNATIVES INITIATIVE PROCEEDS WITH TASK FORCE FORMATION
Charged with Presenting Recommendations Nov. 26
Following the initial meeting on Moore Square food distribution alternatives, City of Raleigh staff members are compiling the data the meeting produced. This data will be examined to launch the work of the task force that was formed during the Sept. 16 meeting at Marbles Museum.
The task force is comprised of representatives from groups attending the meeting that are involved in offering support for those in need. The task force will meet Sept. 24, Oct. 10 and Oct. 22 at Marbles Museum. The task force’s goal is to bring together stakeholders that will work as a community to develop a dependable and sustainable approach to distributing food to those in need that is beneficial for everyone that lives, works or visits Raleigh.
The series of task force meetings is scheduled to provide for a thoughtful process that will include many conversations from many perspectives and experiences and thorough consideration and evaluation.
The task force has been formed as a part of the City administration’s efforts to fulfill the City Council’s directive addressing the food distribution issue. At its Sept. 3 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to re-engage the City’s Community-Oriented Government group to:
· Widen the circle of participating agencies that are providing input to this issue, including Wake County;
· Reach out and invite all community and faith-based groups to participate in the discussion to find solutions to problems associated with food distribution in Moore Square; and,
· Develop specific action steps and recommendations to be reported to the Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee at its Nov. 26 meeting.
In the interim, the City Council directed that the City’s policy regarding Moore Square not be changed, meaning:
· There will be no enforcement or arrests for any food distribution activity;
· The staff will continue educating food providers about restrictions in the park and sidewalks;
· Once alternate sites have been secured, offer groups wanting to serve food to the needy alternatives to Moore Square; and,
· Ask food distribution operations to move out of Moore Square only when a permitted activity/event is scheduled to be held in the park.
This City Council action waives permit fees in Moore Square during this interim only for food distribution to the needy.
It is the City of Raleigh’s objective and desire that the actions taken by this newly formed task force will result in a cooperative environment in which the needs of the hungry are meet with compassion and in appreciation of the rights of every resident of the Capital City.
# # # # # # #
Read more about what I'm doing to move Raleigh forward here