Because of its visibility, the homeless encampment on Capital Blvd at I-540 has raised awareness of the growing number of homeless individuals with the city and county. Within City government there is the legislative branch (the Mayor and Council) and the executive branch (the City Manager and all the staff that report to the Manager). The City Manager has provided the following report on homelessness at Capital and I-540 to Council in the City Manager’s Report that was released this week. The report is divided into various sections. The following addresses the encampment at Capital and I-540.
Update on Homeless Encampments at Capital Boulevard and I-540
Local nonprofit Triangle Family Services (TFS), which provides street outreach services, has been actively involved in working with the homeless camp located on NCDOT-owned land near I-540 and Capital Boulevard.
Currently around 7-8 people are living in the camp, and two have been connected to services. TFS was able to secure a dumpster, which was filled with trash and has since been removed at the request of NCDOT.
While an improvement, there is still more cleanup that needs to occur. TFS has coordinated another cleanup effort that will take place this Saturday, April 24. Volunteers from Journey Church will be assisting camp members in the cleanup effort as well as providing supplies.
One of the challenges in working with members of homeless camps is gaining their trust. Homeless individuals must agree to an assessment to be connected to services, and many individuals living in camps are wary of providing the needed information. While street outreach teams have the ability to do assessments in real time, gaining individuals’ trust can take time. Outreach efforts are ongoing.
H&N (the City’s Housing and Neighborhoods department) staff consulted with Solid Waste Services, Transportation, PRCR (The City’s Parks, Recreation, Cultural Resources department), RPD (Raleigh Police Department), and TFS (Triangle Family Services) on the situation. The consensus was that street outreach providers continue to send in outreach teams to individual camps with sanitation supplies, PPE, and other supplies as needed. Various unintended consequences and challenges were identified in providing port-a-potties.
Outreach teams also build connections with camp members and make referrals to appropriate service providers. City staff will continue to consult with TFS on the situation.