Greensboro Poverty commission:

The Homeless Union of Greensboro is advocating for the City of Greensboro to establish a Poverty Commission, officially called the Commission on the Status of Poor Folks. The purpose of this commission is to make meaningful impact towards the eradication of poverty in Greensboro.

But rather than replicate failed models that already exist, we are asking that the city design this poverty commission with poor people, rather than for them. 

In that spirit, we are asking that the commission advise the city of Greensboro on Policy related to the following issues:

-Housing Access & Foreclosure Defense

-Living Wages

-Healthcare Access

-Educational opportunities

-Emergency Assistance & Crisis Intervention

-Food Access

-Transportation Access

-Financial Resources

-Welfare Access

-Community Leadership Opportunities for low-income people 

-Public Space Use

And the commission ought to be an 11 to 13 voting member board with the following membership guidelines:

-60% representation of low-income people.

-A minimum of 3 members with recent or current experiences of homelessness (within last 2 years)

-At least 2 tenants of Public Housing

-At least one recipient of Section 8 or HUD/VASH vouchers

-At least 2-3 G.T.A. Riders/Users

-Inclusive of people living with disabilities

-At least one Homeless Service Provider or Emergency Assistance Worker

-One City Council Representative

-Other "experts" who work in the fields of housing, healthcare, education, welfare, transportation, education, emergency services, crisis intervention, or government. (These can also be non-voting members.)

And, we believe that the commission ought to be committed to outreach to people outside of the commission itself to make sure that the policy recommendations made to the city are reflective of the desires of the community and accountable to the priorities of poor people throughout Greensboro.​

Furthermore, the Commission on the Status of Poor folks shall meet at places that are 


-Centrally Located

-Accessible by bus 

nothing about us without us

is for us

The Details:



 The Greensboro Commission on the Status of Poor Folks shall be established and regulated by Chapter 12 of the Greensboro Code of Ordinances.


            The duties of the Commission are:


  1. To make meaningful impact towards the eradication of poverty in Greensboro by working for the betterment of the status of poor/low-income/homeless people with respect to housing conditions, foreclosure defense, employment and educational opportunities, health services, emergency assistance, crisis intervention, food and shelter services, child care services, transportation services, welfare services, financial services, and community leadership opportunities; 


  1. To conduct surveys, public hearings, seminars, and informational programs, receive and investigate complaints with the aim of harmoniously resolving these complaints, accumulate information on subjects affecting poor/low-income/homeless people, and to prepare a leadership roster of qualified poor/low-income/homeless people in Greensboro;


  1. To make recommendations to the City Council for action it deems necessary in improving and upholding the opportunities in employment, housing, education, health services, emergency assistance access, crisis intervention, food and shelter access, child care, transportation, welfare, financial services, and community leadership for all people, regardless of income level or housing status;


  1. To appoint, at its discretion, subcommittees, which may or may not have additional members, to concern themselves with specific problems relating to the status of poor/low-income/homeless people; and


  1. To perform such other duties as may be assigned it from time to time by the City Council.


 The Commission is composed of eleven to thirteen members nominated by welfare/SNAP/WIC/Aid to the Needy and Disabled benefits and social security recipients, public housing tenants, HUD VASH voucher recipients, Section 8 voucher recipients and shelter residents, and appointed by the City Council for two-year terms to expire on the 15th day of August. Members hold office until their successors are appointed and qualified, and vacancies resulting from causes other than expiration of term shall be filled only for the unexpired portion of the term.  Members shall not succeed themselves after serving a second full term without an intervening period of one year, and appointment for more than half of the unexpired portion of the term shall be considered as appointment for a full term.


At least 60% of the commission members (7-8) must be individuals whose household income is less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). At least 3 members of the board must have some personal lived experience of homelessness- either currently experiencing homelessness or have had experienced homelessness within the last 2 years. At least 2 members of the board must be tenants of Greensboro Housing Authority properties. At least 1 member must be a recipient of either a Section 8 or HUD/VASH housing voucher. The board shall be inclusive of people living with disabilities. At least one member must be a homeless service provider or a peer-navigator. At least one member of City Council will sit on the board as a voting member.


Individuals who have personal lived experience as recipients of transportation, housing, shelter, food, welfare, or unemployment assistance are prioritized for membership candidates. Furthermore, individuals with professional expertise regarding housing conditions, employment and educational opportunities, health services, child care services, transportation services, welfare services, financial services, and governmental systems are to be sought out for nomination to serve on the board alongside people with lived experience of poverty, or as nonvoting advisers to the committee. Examples of potential “experts” include representatives from the Greensboro Transit Authority, Greensboro Housing Authority, Guilford County Schools, Guilford, Medical professionals, Department of Social Services representatives, NC Works, and the homeless continuum of care (Partners Ending Homelessness).


Diverse representation is critical for the success of this commission. Racial and gender quotas are not legally permissible means of establishing boards and committees. However, appointments to the commission ought to reflect the diverse groups who experience poverty within this community.


 Appointees will be allowed three (3) absences per rolling twelve (12) month period, after which the appointee will be subject to dismissal, save for extenuating circumstances.


 The Commission elects a chair and vice-chair from its members who serve for one year, unless removed for cause or by resignation. Should the chair or vice-chair be absent at any meeting, a temporary chair shall be named by the commission to serve at the meeting.


 The Commission makes no expenditures or contracts any indebtedness for which the City is liable without the approval of the Council.  Members serve without compensation.


 The Commission meets regularly each month unless there is not sufficient business to warrant a meeting, but not more than ninety days shall expire without a regular or special meeting. 


 Special meetings of the Commission may be called by the chair.  Notice shall be given verbally or in writing and delivered personally to each member or left at his residence not less than forty-eight hours prior to the time of the meeting; provided, that the minimum time period for notice to a member may be waived by such member if he/she/they are present at the special meeting.


 The Commission must also cause written notice of the special meeting, stating its general purpose, to be posted at the door of its meeting place, to be mailed or delivered to each news media, and/or person(s) who has filed a request for notice with the City Clerk's Office, at least forty-eight hours before the special meeting.  All regular and special meetings shall be held in the City except when fixed or adjourned to another location.  All meetings are open to the public.  Eight members constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of at least a majority of the regular members present shall be required before any recommendation is made on any matter considered.


All Commission meetings will be held at centrally located places unless extenuating circumstances require the commission to meet elsewhere. All commission meetings will be held in locations that are within a quarter mile walk from a public transportation line. The City of Greensboro will transportation assistance in the form of bus vouchers or some other means of transportation to and from commission meetings for all commission members who rely on public transportation. provide All commission meetings will be held at times when commission members staying at emergency shelters or in transitional housing programs are required to be at their place of residents, temporary or otherwise. If commission meetings are held at times when commission members would otherwise be seeking free food or meal options, the City of Greensboro will ensure that food is available prior to commission meetings for commission members and guests.


 No member may discuss, advocate, or vote on any matter in which he/she has a specific separate, private, or monetary interest, either directly or indirectly, and no member may discuss before the City Council any matter which has been, is, or will be considered by the Commission and in which he/she/they have a separate, private, or monetary interest.  Any member who violates this provision is subject to removal.


 The Commission has adopted procedural rules and regulations which are filed with the City Clerk, and makes a report to the Council at least annually before the first day of August.

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