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Raleigh to evaluate policies on helping homeless

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The city of Raleigh will review its policies on how people can help feed the homeless, it said Monday afternoon. The city of Raleigh will review its policies on how people can help feed the homeless, it said Monday afternoon.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The city of Raleigh will review its policies on how people can help feed the homeless, it said Monday afternoon.

The issue has been hotly debated since the weekend, when groups looking to serve the homeless were told the city would start to enforce an ordinance requiring permits to do that.

For years, groups have served meals downtown at Moore Square Park, a common place where many of Raleigh's homeless gather.

From the city's view, the issue isn't whether to help feed the homeless, but how to do it effectively. But there were many who expressed concern.

"Especially on the weekends when there is no other place for them to go and get a meal," explained Todd Pratt with the outreach group "Human Beans Together."

For some, these meals are their only source of food on the weekends.

"I don't have any family here, not one family member, and if these people were not here, I would not make it," said Wanda Borrero, who is currently homeless.

"They see you through when you're really hungry," said William Pantelides, who is also without a home.

"Love Wins Ministries" has served the homeless for six years, but is now being told to leave the places they usually do it.

"The police came and told us if we distribute food we would be arrested," said Hugh Hollowell, pastor and director of Love Wins Ministries.

On Monday, the city called what happened over the weekend "a special opportunity to work in concert with concerned community organizations to gather and find workable solutions to feeding the homeless in a safe manner."

The city said food distribution around Moore Square Park "is not without practical problems for city government."

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said on Sunday that it was a "good thing" that people wanted to help, but that there were issues for the city.

"I know everyone is down here with the best of intentions, but sometimes groups might come and just leave food because they know Moore Square is ‘the place' and I don't want people to run into problems with health and safety," McFarlane said Sunday.

Local groups are also working together on how they can better spread out their resources. The Wake Area Missions Ministries is meeting with groups to figure out the best way for various groups to not only provide meals, but work more closely with area homeless.

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