Homelessness Among School Age Children

Wake County Public Schools System (WCPSS) uses the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness. Rates of homelessness in the United States among children and youth are higher today than at any point since data has been collected on homelessness. Wake County Public School System has seen an increase in the number of students experiencing homelessness over the last few years. A person meets the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes:

• Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;

• Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

• Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

Total # of Students Identified (numbers from WCPSS)

2014-2015: 2,736

2015-2016: 2,940

2016-2017: 3,465

2017-2018: 3,989

2018-2019: 4,365

From the City Council Email Bag

I thought I would start a special series featuring email that I receive at City Council that reflects on important issues. This article concerns leaf pickup and equity. This email exchange illustrates that even leaf pickup can lead to inequity within the city. I applaud the City staff for setting a schedule and not playing favorites.

Below you will find an email that was sent to all of council from a resident of Oakwood concerned about leaf pickup in time for the annual Oakwood candlelight ceremony. You will also find my response. First, my response:

Thank you for noting that Oakwood has received this consideration (i.e. special leaf pickup) in the past. Unfortunately, we have an equity situation.  

Last year the Brentwood neighborhood had to cancel their 50+ year celebration with luminaries because they were not able to get the leaves picked up. Last year residents also inquired about getting a pass through the neighborhood in time for their celebration but no special consideration was received. This year the Brentwood neighborhood is again waiting patiently as it did last year for the trucks to come through per established schedule.

It is frustrating to the neighborhoods but the established schedules for leaf pickup depend greatly on many factors including weather. I will explore with the rest of Council and staff what we can do differently in the future to better meet the needs of our various neighborhoods regarding leaf pickup to ensure that they are collected in a timely and equitable manner.

Best regards,

David Cox
Raleigh City Council, District B

The following is the email that was received this morning…

Subject: Leaf collection in Oakwood

I am writing this in frustration. I also am trying to understand the reasoning for not making a pickup before the candlelight tour which has been done in the past.

We get 4k plus visitor to this tour AND the leaves present a danger not to mention an eyesore. This is a struggle for me to understand WHY the city would not want to keep our citizens and visitors safe

Thank You David Novak

Two years ago David Novak was nominated for and elected to the Raleigh Planning Commission. During the past two years David has served faithfully by attending 25 of 26 meetings which are typically held at 9am and at 4pm during the work day.

David is a long time and beloved resident of District D and has seen Raleigh grow tremendously during his life. I have known David as someone who cares deeply about his neighbors, his community, and the entire city. He has been involved many civic activities.

During his two years on the Planning Commission David has been fair and objective in his evaluations of rezoning requests. He has fairly and objectively evaluated each proposal for its consistency with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and for its public benefits.

David has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to Raleigh.

David, thank you so much for your service. It was an honor for me to vote for your appointment two years ago and for your reappointment for another two years. I regret that the reappointment didn’t happen but I look forward to your service to the city in whatever capacity you might choose in the future.

The 2017 Raleigh City Council

Today is the last meeting of the 2017 Raleigh City Council. As I look back on the past two years, I realize that together we have accomplished much.

  • We have made City Council and city government more transparent and accessible with televised and video recorded work sessions and free parking for those who attend our public meetings. Our weekly manager updates are now posted and publicly available on the city’s website.
  • We reached decisions on backyard cottages and short term rentals ending years of stalemate.
  • We regulated scooters allowing them as an alternative means of transportation while respecting our pedestrians, particularly our elderly and disabled.
  • We supported numerous neighborhoods with conservation overlay districts.
  • We established the Oberlin Village Historic Overlay District.
  • We established the first on-street accessible parking downtown.
  • We approved our first affordable housing projects paid for by our dedicated 1 cent property tax.
  • We revised our sidewalk petition process and now consider pedestrian generators such as schools and parks when prioritizing sidewalk projects.
  • We tightened the rules regarding stormwater runoff.
  • We approved the Dix Park Master Plan ensuring that the park will be realized without commercial development in the park.
  • We stopped the practice of granting variances to our forestation rules to protect our watersheds.
  • We reaffirmed Raleigh’s unique institution of citizens engagement, our Citizens Advisory Councils and strengthened them under the leadership of RCAC Chair Shelley Winters and the dozens who volunteer their time and talents to lead and manage them.

We accomplished much. But much more remains to be done. We need an affordable housing bond that will allow the city to acquire land for future affordable housing. We need to advocate for help from the state legislature to require including affordable housing particularly when large residential projects are constructed. We should no longer be complacent with the construction of hundreds to thousands of units solely for the wealthy. And we should no longer be complacent with laws that allow the easy eviction and displacement of large populations of city residents as a tool and precondition for new construction.

We need to address our homeless population and those living in hotels and motels. We need to ensure that every child in Raleigh has a safe and healthy home. We need to end the days of school busses picking up and dropping off thousands of children at Motel 6, the Budget Inn, and others along Capital, New Bern, and elsewhere.

We need to protect our environment. We need a regional policy and a regional board for planning and deciding our resource needs including our needs for stone. We need a regional approach to deciding if we need additional quarries, how large they should be, how they are operated, and where they should be located. Such decisions have far reaching environmental and community impacts. These decisions should not rest with bodies such as the Airport Authority whose charge is to fly planes and passengers and not to protect our environment or manage our resources.

We have entire census tracts in southeast Raleigh that census records say are largely devoid of young black men. Either they have hidden from the census takers or are in jail. Either way this is an unacceptable situation and we need to find solutions that encompass education, jobs, and community support. We can no longer continue to lose generations of young people to poverty and crime.

Raleigh is a wealthy city . Let us move beyond airbnb, backyard cottages, and scooters and continue our work to make Raleigh a city for everyone.

I thank my colleagues for their incredible service and dedication and the privilege it has been to work with them. And, I look forward in a few days to working with the incoming Council to meet the many challenges that lie ahead.

Falls of Neuse is now a Parkway

At our last City Council meeting we adopted a change to designate Falls of Neuse from the Neuse River to Capital Blvd as a Parkway.

What this means is that future development of Falls of Neuse in this area must require substantial trees and vegetation. In other words, no more Sheetz like developments in the corridor.

From the motion that established the Parkway:

WHEREAS, the presence of significant amounts of greenery along major roads is a defining element of the Falls North area, and one of the primary goals of the Falls North Area Specific Guidance adopted as an addition to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan is to maintain and enhance that park-like feel; and

WHEREAS, this goal is accomplished through a series of policies that relate to tree preservation, particularly along the edges of main corridors such as Falls of Neuse Road, and through the Parkway Corridor designation on the Urban Form Map; and WHEREAS, this amendment to the Comprehensive Plan will expand that policy guidance to additional locations; and

WHEREAS, these amendments were reviewed and discussed with public input; then THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA that the 2030 Comprehensive Plan be amended to include the edits identified as CP-10-19 as shown.

Our Homeless Children

ABC 11 is reporting a sharp rise in homeless children in Wake County – many of whom live in Raleigh’s District B along Capital Blvd and New Bern. According to the story, the Wake County Public School System identified more than 4,000 homeless children. That is nearly double the number identified in 2014/2015.

Here are the numbers over the past five years.

2018-2019 – 4,365

2017-2018 – 3,989

2016-2017 – 3,465

2015-2016 – 2,940

2014-2015 – 2,736

Providing a safe and healthy home to every child in Raleigh and Wake County should be our number one priority. They cannot wait any longer. We cannot lose so many children to poverty.

It is a complete disgrace.

Read more at ABC 11’s website: https://abc11.com/society/wake-co-experiencing-sharp-rise-in-homelessness-among-kids/5699836/

Third Murder at Mambo Since 2014

This morning I was informed about a murder at the Mambo near Brentwood. This will be the third murder associated with the location since 2014.

Residents are obviously very concerned about this violence. I have conveyed their and my concern to the City Manager and the City Attorney.

I look forward to working with Mayor Elect Baldwin and the new City Council to address violence, crime, poverty, and homelessness that is increasingly a major concern along and near Capital Blvd – the northern gateway to Raleigh.

Introducing the David Cox Raleigh District B App

Technology evolves…

Going forward, I will employ some new ways to stay in touch with District B and Raleigh residents. One primary way that I will use to share information is this website that you are reading now (dcoxforcouncil.com). Through this website I will share information and discuss the issues that are before the city and before city council. The website is open to anyone with a browser. You can use your computer, phone, or tablet to check the website for the latest information.

To make life easier I am also introducing apps for Apple and Android. The goal of these apps is to make contacting me as easy as clicking an icon on your phone.

These apps will present the same or very similar content that is available on this website. In time I will add functionality that will allow you to send me your comments and ideas. The functionality that I can add to the app is really limitless and could include polls and links to other websites.

My first app is available for Android (an Apple version is coming). I call it simply, the David Cox Raleigh District B app.

You can find it at the Google Play app store by following this link:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=guffy.net.dcoxraleigh

Give it a try and let me know what you think.