Featured photo: Pallet shelter residents moved out on Friday after previously being told they would be able to stay until at least March 27. (photo by Gale Melcher)
Residents at Greensboro’s Pallet shelter community moved out on Friday.
At approximately 2 p.m. today, TCB visited Pomona Park where the temporary shelters for homeless individuals have been set up for the last three months. According to residents and an onsite security guard, all Pallet residents were told to move out by noon today.
After originally scheduling a move-out date for March 15, city officials put out a statement on March 14 stating that the program had been extended until the end of the month, with move-outs starting the week of March 27. Based on the new timeline, the shelters were set to be taken down in phases with the last move-outs scheduled for March 31.
But on Friday, Kristina Singleton, the executive director of the IRC, which operates the Pallet community, confirmed in a statement that all residents had to be out by Friday instead.
“The 27th is when the breakdown of all the Pallets is happening,” she said. “The move-out had to be today for breakdown on Monday morning.”
Singleton said that because residents have to be out by 8 a.m. on Monday, March 27, “[if] they’re being relocated to another program that’s not open on a weekend or open before 8 a.m. on Monday, then they have to leave today.
“Everyone there knows, that’s why they’re already gone,” she added, noting that residents received notice to leave by noon on Friday.
One onsite staff member said that some of the residents had already left prior to today.
When asked when the move-out date had been changed, Singleton stated that she wasn’t sure.
“We worked in close partnership with the city and we all agreed on the dates,” Singleton said. “I know at the end there they changed a bunch so they may have put out different dates….
That’s our directives that we’ve had all along and what we agreed on when we accepted it.”
The inconsistent information on when residents would have to move out can be seen in city documentation. According to the memo put out by the city on March 13, residents who had “not found alternate housing solutions” were stated to be able to “remain in the structures through March 27th due to the anticipated colder temperatures in the coming days.”
The same memo states that based on the disassembly schedule, clients living in the specific shelters would be allowed to stay until 8 a.m. the same morning.
“The physical demobilization of buildings will occur in phases to maximize the number of beds
available through March 31st and in coordination with the Resident Transition Plan,” the memo states. “On the date of the building(s) scheduled disassembly, the client(s) occupying those buildings need to have all personal items removed by 8:00 a.m.”
One resident who was still packing said they received the move-out notice a few days ago.
Another resident who was getting on a bus at the stop across from the park also confirmed that today is move-out day.
“It most certainly is,” the resident said. “I was supposed to be out by noon, but it’s okay. I should be getting help Monday.”
Clear plastic bags holding residents’ belongings were scattered across the ballfield, and onsite staff workers were going in and out of the shelters and appeared to be cleaning them.
On March 14, Singleton told TCB that “to date, 57 percent of the people that have exited the program have not gone back to experiencing homelessness and we will not have a final number until the program is completed.”
One of the residents TCB interviewed on March 13 said again on Friday that they still have not secured permanent housing and that they’ll be returning to living under a bridge.
Singleton did not give an updated percentage of Pallet residents who had secured housing as of Friday, saying that the IRC staff is waiting for additional reporting from partner agencies.
As of Friday afternoon, all 30 shelters were still standing.
After the shelters are taken down on Monday, preparations for the baseball field will be made. Between April 1-13, scheduling and completion of any repairs will take place, and on April 14 a coordinated site inspection will occur with parks and recreation staff to confirm that all repairs or preparations are complete.
On April 15, baseball practice will start.
The temporary shelters, which cost approximately $500,000, were purchased by the city in October 2022 to shield people experiencing homelessness from the elements during the winter. Thirty shelters were installed in December and have operated for about three months.
Read prior reporting on the Pallet community here.
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