Durham City Council to allocate more than $1 million to address growing homeless population

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Durham City Council to discuss services for homeless population
Durham City Council is expected to decide if it will continue its partnership with local organizations by allocating $1 million to continue the work.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you're paying attention, you've seen it too. Tents are set up in wooded areas or nestled right next to city-owned property downtown on any given day.

"Many of us see individuals on street corners and more tents in the woods near shopping centers," said Russell Pierce, executive director of Housing for New Hope. "What we're seeing is, prices for housing have increased so much here that that's the main contributor. Folks cannot access housing and when they can access it, they can't afford it."

Housing for New Hope is a Durham-based nonprofit with a mission of addressing homelessness through housing and hope. While it's a growing problem, homelessness oftentimes isn't their only issue.

"They sometimes have disabling conditions such as mental health challenges or substance use disorder," Pierce said.

ALSO SEE: Proposed Durham Homeless Services Center aims to help alleviate shelter system

As of December, there are nearly 50 families and 60 adults in need of a place to live, according to Urban Ministries of Durham's executive director.

On Tuesday night, the city council is expected to decide if it will continue its partnership with local organizations like Housing for New Hope by providing them with $1 million total to continue the work. The money will be used to provide housing and resources for families on the verge of or temporarily experiencing homelessness.

"While homelessness is a problem, it's not the problem," said Colin Davis, manager of the homeless system for the City of Durham.

The numbers are on the rise across the Bull City. While the money helps, city staffers believe more needs to be done.

"We have got to pull medical care, education, job opportunity training, and income inequities need to be fixed if we want to end homelessness," said Davis.