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Cumberland County officials iron out plans for new homeless shelter

Committee discusses ‘what we want to see’ in services provided


Cumberland County officials on Thursday met to discuss moving forward with plans for a new homeless shelter.

The Board of Commissioners’ Homeless Advisory Committee met to discuss plans for the shelter.

County board Chairwoman Toni Stewart also chairs the advisory committee. Other committee members include Commissioners Veronica Jones and Michael Boose. Boose was did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

After a brief update by county Engineering Director Jermaine Walker on the status of the project. interim County Manager Renee Paschal suggested that commissioners and county administrators determine "what we want to see" in a homeless shelter before asking architects to submit design plans.

Stewart suggested the county engage Fayetteville Technical Community College on ways the school can advance the project.

Last year, the county gave FTCC $2 million in federal American Rescue Plan money to move toward an adult learner program, Hope, Opportunity and Prosperity through Education. The program provides accelerated training to Cumberland County residents who do not have a college degree or sought-after work skills.

“So, the first order of business is to sit down with FTCC?” Paschal asked.

Commissioner Jones suggested the county develop its own action plan for dealing with the homeless issue in Cumberland County.

However, Paschal steered the discussion back to a more focused and time-sensitive plan to build a homeless shelter and determine “what we can afford and what the building will look like,” she said.

She recommended setting qualifications for both a design and a feasibility study that would address what services the shelter would provide.

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Paschal said the county does not yet have a budget for the shelter.

“That is the main reason for moving ahead with a feasibility study to determine the size and probable cost,” she told CityView after the meeting.

The county received $1 million in state funding for the project, she said.

Ensuing discussion centered around whether the county should come up a plan for what the homeless shelter should look like or use outside services. Walker suggested that the county could hire an architect to develop a plan for what the shelter would look like and what services it would provide.

Jones recommended that county staffers look at other "sizable" cities, including Baltimore, with homeless shelters in place.

County administrators will forward recommendations of the Homeless Advisory Committee to the full Board of Commissioners so that other commissioners can have input on the committee's proposals.

Cumberland County, homeless shelter