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Raleigh leaders look for solutions to feed homeless in Moore Square

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Stakeholders split into groups at Marbles Kids Museum to talk about where they distribute the most food, and where they think it should go in the future. Stakeholders split into groups at Marbles Kids Museum to talk about where they distribute the most food, and where they think it should go in the future.
Stakeholders split into groups at Marbles Kids Museum to talk about where they distribute the most food, and where they think it should go in the future. Stakeholders split into groups at Marbles Kids Museum to talk about where they distribute the most food, and where they think it should go in the future.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A battle to feed the homeless in Raleigh's Moore Square moved across the street Monday as dozens met at Marbles Kids Museum to find a long-term solution.

For years groups have served meals to downtown Raleigh's homeless at Moore Square Park, a common place where many gather. But last month, Raleigh Police threatened those organizations with arrest if they continued to distribute food in the park.

The officers cited a decades old city ordinance that bans the distribution of food on city owned property, in a public park or on the sidewalk without a permit.

Following a public outcry, as well as unwanted attention in national media, City Council directed Raleigh Police not to enforce the ordinance. The city is also waiving the permit fee for groups that feed the homeless while City Council works to find a long-term solution.

Monday, stakeholders split into groups at Marbles Kids Museum to talk about where they distribute the most food, and where they think it should go in the future. No decisions were made, but it was clear that the Moore Square incident shined a light on a community often gets looked over.

"In that sense, I'm glad we've had this misunderstanding because it gives us a strong focus on how we're going to address our most needy citizens," said City Councilor Bonner Gaylord.

Anthony Alston, who founded the organization End Homelessness Now, says he's pleased that these discussions are happening, but they should have occurred before the problem came to a head in August.

"I'm pleased at how the City of Raleigh is handling everything," Alston said. "This actually should have been put in place before; but like they say, better late than never."

Having lived on the streets just two weeks ago, Alston is using his organization to bring attention to the needs of those who call Moore Square home. He points to himself as an example of homelessness happening to anyone.

"Before I was actually homeless, I'm a graduate of N.C. State," Alston said. "I'm a graduate of Broughton High School."

Monday's discussion was just the beginning of several more community meetings planned on the topic. The groups will then present its findings to City Council later this years.

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Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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