It’s much needed.

Starting on Wednesday, Greensboro’s day center for the unhoused community will expand its hours on weekdays.

Since its opening in 2008, the IRC has been a day center with hours of operation from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. As a day center, the building doesn’t have a place for people to sleep; instead, it offers a place for people to shower, do laundry, charge their cell phones and rest. Now, with funding commitments from the cities of Greensboro and High Point as well as Guilford County, the IRC enters a new phase by transitioning into a full-time center.

As TCB reported in December, Guilford County commissioners unanimously approved $306,000 in funding to support the cause. Kristina Singleton, the center’s executive director, told commissioners that the city of Greensboro had already committed $297,000. The funding is for one year.

This first phase of the center expanding its hours will mean the building will be open to residents Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in addition to its daytime hours. The only time the center will be closed will be from 3-8 p.m.

According to a press release, when fully operational, the program will provide:

  • A safe and sanitary space for people to be out of the elements, eliminating temperature requirements for emergency shelter.
  • Increased access to fundamental services such as restrooms, showers, laundry services, storage lockers, and phones into evening and overnight hours.
  • Evening case management connecting center guests to mainstream benefits, and increased likelihood of housing program success.

The total cost of transitioning to a full-time operation will be about $920,000, Singleton said, with most of the expenditures consisting of paying for staff. 

The expanded hours allows people to come and use the IRC’s amenities with more frequency and to escape the cold during the winter months. 

The total number of people experiencing homelessness in Guilford County has risen — 2022’s Point-In-Time count recorded 426 people, whereas in 2023, there were 452.

“We’ve wanted to go 24/7 for a long time,” Singleton told TCB in December.

Currently the IRC also acts as a “white flag” center during the coldest months of the year in which anyone can visit the center and stay overnight. However, there are no beds. 

Instead, the center acts as a warming center to keep people out of the elements. And that’s because there are already shelters in the community, including the Greensboro Urban Ministry, that provide beds, Singleton said. The white flag center serves upwards of 100 people per night and if they were to set up beds, that number would decrease to about 20, she said.

Read our past reporting here.

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