The new location of the shelter is...

This weekend I learned there would be a press conference today at 10 am (ie: right now) to reveal the new location of the InterFaith Council's homeless shelter. Of course, this tantalizing e-mail didn't name the location, but based on the particpants I think we have a pretty strong clue.

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser will be joined by Chris Moran, executive director of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, Rev. Richard Edens, a United Church of Chapel Hill pastor, and other community leaders as they announce a new partnership to benefit the community’s homeless.

So will it be at the UCC? Carolina North? Human Services Building on Homestead? It seems certain to move away from Downtown, which I think is unfortunate

I guess we will all hear shortly.


Homeless people usually don’t have cars.  And I bet they’d really feel welcome taking the bus out to a shelter at Carolina North

John Rees

New Homeless Shelter proposed for former Duke Power billing center at corner of MLK Blvd and Homestead Road.
Hmm, in addition to being a hefty walk from downtown, that's not exactly the most pedestrian friendly intersection in town. Then again, it seems like just about every idea for a location has been shot down by someone for some reason or another. I'd be interested in hearing the justification for the selection of this site before I pass judgment one way or another.
well, it will be within walking distance of an early voting site!
That site is on the T bus route and maybe some others.

If I'm not mistaken, it's also on the NS and the A. Unfortunately, that doesn't make the intersection any safer to pedestrians, or the walk from downtown any less during hours when those routes are out of service. I am glad it's on a variety of buslines, though.

No site is going to be perfect, I guess.

Please excuse my ignorance on this topic, but is this shelter new or is it envisioned as a replacement for another facility?
It would replace the IFC Community House on Rosemary Street.

Thanks for the reply Mark. Why is the location on Rosemary being replaced?

That's quite a loaded question. The short answer is that downtown merchants don't like having the shelter as neighbor. For the long answer I've gone back and tagged old OP postss on the topic. Enjoy:


Thanks for the link -- I'll check it out.



Nonsense. IFC has said it wanted to move the Men's Residential Facility and the Community Kitchen from this location since 2004 due to the inadequacy of space, and our inability to expand/improve accomadations due to historic site restrictions. Homeless men have to sleep in between dining room tables when beds are full; storage is tight; dining room capacity is minimal. The IFC has been located in the OMB for 23 years regardless of those who may oppose the location. Many merchants support our services, donate dollars, goods and food supplies to us regularly. Generalizations about merchants are not warranted just as generalizations about homeless populations are unfounded.Please know that the Kitchen and Food Pantry will be combined into one location - a Food Operations Center. either in Carrboro or Chapel Hill to expand food storage, expand our dining room capacity and advance food resources for so 1,260 plus household food pantry members so they can receive additional food and meals particularly with the advent of rising fuel/food costs in all communities. This is a prevention project that helps those in homes be food secure, to keep their homes and avoid homelessness. IFC has an elen point plan for obtaining new facilities to continue and strengthen residential services and food programs for our neighbors in need. Amen . . .

Chris Moran

Jstrope,  that's a long answer.  A lot of people have felt that the shelter's location has affected downtown adversely in many ways---appearance, safety, panhandling, and so forth.     Other people think that the location--which is owned by the town---is not being used to its "highest and best use"  which has an adverse financial impact on the town during tight budget times by taking up space other town departments need, and by not being leased out at market rates    Still others would like to see the shelter expand its services and its mission which would be difficult to do in the existing space.   

 I, however, am not the shelter expert.   You can access a lot of discussion about this matter in this forum, the Daily Tar Heel Archives, and the Chapel Hill News.  It is a long term ongoing conversation.  


Thanks a million for the details!



Another reason the shelter is being moved is that the town is growing and needs the use of its building at the corner of Rosemary and Columbia for municipal uses.

The Council voted to adopt the Northern Area Task Force report as part of the Comprehensive Plan, so I was surprised to find out about the shelter location because the recommendations by the Task Force (and consultant) were so different.  This site was identified as a transit hub to support the ever talked about Transit Oriented Development along MLK Jr. Blvd., which has been designated as a transit corridor.  This negates a lot of the work done by the Task Force.

Additionally, the corner is right near the Senior Center, Homestead Park, the new Acquatics Center, the Women's and Children's Shelter, and Carolina North (and many residential neighborhoods).

Will the men be locked out during the day?



Del Snow

 "This site was identified as a transit hub . . . near the Senior Center, Homestead Park, the new Acquatics Center, the Women's and Children's Shelter, and Carolina North (and many residential neighborhoods)."

So maybe it is a fairly accessible location after all?

I look forward to learning more about this is tomorrow's papers. I'll be looking to find out...

1. Is the "soup kitchen" which feeds 3 hot meals a day to hundreds of local residents going to move? This serves many working people who struggle to get by, as well as residents of the shelter. I think it's essential that this service be located proximate to the jobs of people who benefit from it, that is mainly UNC and downtown Chapel Hill.

2. What are the terms of UNC's rental of this land to Chapel Hill? Is this going to end up like the Horace Williams tract which used to house the Town's bus garage, recycling center, and animal shelter in a similar $1/year lease? Once UNC wanted the land back, the Town was forced to build a new operations center (which is very nice) for $40 million!

I presume that someday UNC will want this land back, maybe too expand Carolina North (g*d forbid) or to build the transit hub that Del referred to. What happens to the shelter then?

In Mark Schultz's afternoon blog post that follows up the earlier N&O story, he writes:

The new shelter will open by 2011. Foy says it's too early to say how the town would use the current shelter building at 110 W. Rosemary St. Also not in our story is that the IFC wants next to brings it food operation -- the community kitchen now in the shelter building and its food pantry program now in its Main Street headquarters -- under one roof.

As for the lease, remember that the Town knew well in advance that the  $1 a day multi-year lease would not be renewed when it expired at the end of 2006. UNC did give more time because the new center wasn't ready at the end of December. 

As for the money, all of those years we were paying $1 a year, did we put something away for the day we knew would eventually come?

Are you suggesting that there is something wrong with them wanting their land back at some point?

I don't blame the University for wanting to use its own land. My question is what are the Town and/or IFC's plan for that inevitable time when the $1 lease ends?

I will be very unhappy to see the community kitchen move to Homestead Road. What a disservice to those in need.

I think after all of the long hours invested to work out this arrangement, they will face the future issues one step at a time.
I agree Ruby. Moving the soup kitchen out of the downtown area will hurt a lot of the working poor. There was some discussion of moving it to the old IFC office space in Carrboro, but I haven't heard any discussion since then.

The Community Kitchen is NOT moving to Homestead Road. IFC is more strategic than that!


Chris Moran 

According to the N&O, the homeless shelter will be built on land just-purchased by UNC from Duke Power.  Why did UNC buy that property?

Isn't the 970-acre Carolina North site enough for the north side of town.   Put it back on the tax rolls, please.


If a commercial firm bought it, would they lease it to the Town for a $1 a year?  Maybe UNC brought it from Duke Energy because they are the only one who could afford to buy it and then turn around and lease it to the Town at that price. Don't know about the loss tax revenues, but what would it cost the Town and IFC to do something more traditional?

As Chris Moran has been saying for a while, nobody really wanted the shelter in their backyard, and some of the reactions here seem to suggest that the Homestead site isn't a good location; did they have a better option?

Who will pay for the building's architectural design and construction?

Can someone clarify this for me. What will happen to the existing Duke Power bldg on this site? I have a friend that works for UNC who says that they have plans other than a Homeless shelter for that building. The word was put out in a formal meeting.

The homeless shelter will be on approximately 1.7 acres that UNC will lease to the Interfaith Council.  That is only a fraction of the 13 total acres that is the total site.  Presumably UNC will demolish the existing building to give them more leeway in their future plans.  More details are in Dan Goldberg's piece in the Herald-Sun:

Just so everyone remembers what was already said. :)

We should never forget that their was never a "Community Discussion" on this and that was wrong.

Ruby, I'm curious if you have changed you opinion of the site not being downtown in the last 2 years.  I'm also curious what the downtown churches think about losing the alternative place to send people who show up at their doorsteps.  My understanding is that is why the IFC was created so many years ago.  

If you look at some recent discussion about IFC (difficult to wade into the fray, I understand) you'll see that I still think these services would be best located downtown. But I know I'm in a small minority on that so I've chosen not to fight that particular battle. See my comments at &


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