Nobody is “of 305 W. Lee St.”

I was reading an article in the News & Record this morning about the arrests that have come since the debut of the paper’s recent “Guilford County’s Most Wanted” feature. And something caught my eye: “Farmer of 305 W. Lee St. was arrested…”

Whoa. Nobody is of 305 W. Lee St,” because 305 W. Lee is a homeless shelter — the Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Weaver House. It’s a temporary (usually 67 days or less) shelter, not permanent housing. People sleep there at night and leave during the day. (You can see some of them standing out on the corner of Lee and Eugene.) So it’s not a permanent address. If someone has 305 W. Lee St. on their ID, then it means that they’re homeless. The newspaper should have said, “Farmer, homeless, was arrested…”

Why is that important to me? I don’t know. It just is. It’s not that I want to draw attention to the fact that a homeless guy is among Guilford County’s most wanted, although I know that homeless people commit crimes. And it’s no offense to Greensboro Urban Ministry, whose staff apparently helped Farmer get an ID while he stayed there. (Kudos to them. Some of my favorite people work at GUM.) I think it’s just that I want us to acknowledge that homelessness exists, for as long as it does, and hopefully that ends someday. Soon. Nobody is “of 305 W. Lee St.” Farmer was homeless. (And may still be.) A lot of other people are, too.

End of rant. Thanks for listening.

P.S. I could do a similar post/rant about other shelter addresses or even my church address, because we’ve helped do IDs at times, too, and I think they have the church address (643 W. Lee) on them. It’s not about GUM, it’s about being real about people being homeless.

5 thoughts on “Nobody is “of 305 W. Lee St.””

  1. CMF,

    Thanks for the post. Typically the N&R posts the given address on the arrest warrant for an individual. In this case, that happened to be what we got, and did not realize it was a shelter.

    Most of the time the warrant will usually state if an individual is homeless – and we will say “no address given.”

    That wasn’t the case this time.

    – Thanks,

    Ryan Seals

  2. Ryan, I didn’t mean this as an indictment of the News & Record, either. I apologize if it came off that way. I wonder if you guys would consider using wording that indicates that the address listed on the warrant was a homeless shelter, or something like that? I assumed that you guys printed what was on the warrant, and the cops used what was on his ID, etc., but the general public doesn’t know that means “homeless” unless someone connects the dots. And again, I’m not busting on the guy for being homeless or trying to alert the public to a homeless crime wave (most criminals aren’t homeless.) But some people are homeless, and some of them commit crimes. And sometimes there’s a relationship between the crimes and the reasons for their homelessness. So let’s all think about how we can help. I’ve heard about some recent initiatives to address some of those issues, and I hope to be able to write about them soon. Thanks for commenting!

    Peace. :)

  3. In our city it’s “769 Worthington St.” One problem is that because of state (and soon to be local) laws, folks getting out of jail who are labeled ‘sex offenders” can’t get an apartment and wind up at the homeless shelter, so the impression is that homeless equals sex offender. No one challenges or wants to look more deeply at the label “sex offender” and what it means. Not much compassion here.

  4. Some of our chronically homeless friends have moved into permanent housing recently through a new grant program. But at least one that I know of is not eligible because he’s a convicted sex offender. I am not aware of any housing options for him.

  5. i was once housed at the weaver house new to the greensboro area at the time i got ot together now i just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the things that you have done for me i would love to volunteer 1 or 2 saturdays a month iam doing great now

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