He elaborated on the fact that it is an “undignified reality” for the homeless population to not have anywhere to go.
Another point brought up by Slade and Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney was that many people and business owners were linking public urination to just the homeless.
“People emptying out of bars at night, intoxicated, are just as responsible,” Chaney said. “The issue is not limited to just the homeless. The problem goes well beyond that.”
Although the problem does indeed go beyond the blame placed on the homeless, Chaney did address the growing homeless population and how the availability of facilities like public restrooms is a collaborative effort.
“We’re all really clear that the homelessness is a growing problem,” she said. “How we identify the real problem is by treating and understanding who those individuals in the greater population are, and how we treat their well-being.”
Carrboro resident Morgan Walton also supported public restrooms in downtown Carrboro.
“I think it would be pretty positive because it would give them a place to sort of do what they need to do,” she said. “I think if they’re maintained and kept clean, it’s definitely a neat possibility. It might not be as realistic and easy as it should be though.”
Slade spoke further about the progress of the project and how the idea is going to be transformed into an action.
“We’re allocating funds for the project and the whole thing is at the very beginning stages,” he said. “It does take a while to access all options. We are looking to see if we could locate them across from the Century Center or Town Commons, just to have a more central location.”
According to Chaney, certain factors like where the restrooms will be put, whether or not they are permanent and how the city will maintain them are all cost factors that need to be researched and considered.
“We do have to focus on projects that need to be done now and what is currently urgent,” she said, talking about the speed of the project. “The real question is ‘Is this the right way to use public resources?'”