GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Community Crossroads Center in Greenville serves about 40 children a year, but some who stay there say it’s not the best environment for a child.
“I just don’t think it is a place for kid,” said Angel Hines, who used to stay at the shelter. “I think they should have a separate space.”
Angel Hines said there is a family room can only hold four families.
“After that, they continue to let families in,” said Hines. “They just put them over where they can put them at.”
Hines said children in the adult rooms leads to an unsafe environment.
“There could be a sex offender in there,” said Hines. “There could be a sex offender until you go get their papers signed.”
The papers she’s referring to are the documents each resident must have signed by Greenville police to verify that they don’t have any outstanding warrants or that they are a sex offender.
Community Crossroads Center director Bob Williams said a person is allowed to stay at the shelter pending paperwork, which creates the possibility for a sex offender to be around children.
“There is a chance, yeah, and there’s a chance GPD won’t pick up on that,” said Williams. “If they are a sex offender in some other state, it may not show up here in North Carolina.”
Williams said it can be a few days until a person is cleared, but Hines said someone has stayed at the shelter before for months before being kicked out.
“They wait six months after her being here,” said Hines. “Maybe five, five and a half months.”
Wiiliams could not confirm the longest someone has stayed at the shelter without paperwork but said the goal was to keep families safe.
“I want to make sure homeless men, women, children feel safe,” said Williams “No one is going to bother them, no one will harm them.”
Greenville police said the paperwork on their end is finished in a matter of minutes, and then it is the responsibility of the shelter to handle things from there.
The homeless shelter said there was an instance two years ago when a sex offender was staying there from out of state, and they terminated his stay immediately.
In addition to concerns over sex offenders, some who stay at the shelter claim it is unsanitary, with sick people and moldy food.
Erik Kirksey, who stays at the shelter, claims shelter guests are being verbally abused by staff, citing some instances where he said they were encouraged to commit suicide.
“Oh, ‘I wish you would just jump off a cliff and drown,’ stuff like that,” said Kirksey.
“It’s an environment that reminds me a lot like prison,” he added.
The shelter denies any claims of misconduct, saying it’s the responsibility of the people who stay there to do their daily chores and keep their own areas.