Thursday, June 13, 2024

Local pastor hosting community meeting, seeking input on ways help the homeless

Hope Recovery UMC hosted a pop-up warming shelter over the holidays. Pastor Meg McBridge is looking for organizations to come together to brainstorm other ways they can collaboratively assist the unsheltered population. (Courtesy/Warming Shelter ILM)

WILMINGTON — A faith-based group in the works of creating a day shelter for those experiencing homelessness is hosting a community meeting Sunday.

Rev. Meg McBride of Hope Recovery United Methodist Church is hosting a discussion at 5 p.m. Jan. 29 at 3403 Winston Boulevard in Wilmington. She is seeking any individuals, families, organizations or agencies involved in services for the unsheltered population to join the conversation. Bring business cards for networking and exchanging contact information.

McBride’s goal is for the city to come together with a collaborative solution on how to serve and engage homeless individuals.

“Part of the problem in the downtown area are uncoordinated efforts among various persons and groups — us (me) making assumptions about what people need and responding with stuff, things,” McBride wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “I think we can do better — I think we can create a more coordinated effort that can lead to real solutions for the unsheltered in our city. I don’t know how, when or where, but I do think the first step is meeting one another, coming to the same table, talking and finding creative way to collaborate together.”

The meeting is specifically seeking input from anyone currently engaging with the homeless population in the downtown areas of concern: the county-owned library and parking deck.

The Warming Shelter ILM was opened temporarily for five days around Christmas as a pop-up event due to the extremely cold weather. Multiple groups and volunteers came together to provide warm, safe space for anyone without a home. A long-term plan to open a day shelter year-round is underway.

The meeting, as well as the timing of a new shelter, comes on the heels of the county considering a new ordinance. If passed, it could prohibit sleeping on county-owned property from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and allow for the disposal of any personal items left unattended.

The ordinance did not pass on its first reading this week, with Jonathan Barfield dissenting, but commissioners will vote again next month.

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