Moran’s contributions to community

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

The homeless and disadvantaged in Chapel Hill have had few stronger and more tireless advocates than Chris Moran.

Moran has worked for nearly 30 years for the Inter Faith Council, the past 17 as executive director. Earlier this month, Moran announced he is stepping down, a move that will end a long, unstinting campaign to bring help to those who need it.

Moran, who has dealt with some health problems over the years, says health isn’t his reason – it’s just the right time. And he’s looking forward to kicking back.

“I’m well, and planning to do plenty of absolutely nothing for a while,” Moran told The Chapel Hill Herald’s Greg Childress recently.

He’s been doing far from absolutely nothing the past three decades.

The Inter Faith Council has fed and housed Chapel Hill’s most unfortunate with zeal and caring.  With the patience of a man who has spent his career battling what seems to be the intractable problem of homelessness, he has pressed for years to find a site for an expanded facility.

In doing so, he often has poked at what can seem Chapel Hill’s conflicted attitudes toward its homeless population. A famously liberal community that embraces tolerance and compassion for humankind on a global scale, it has, like many communities of all ideological stripes, come up against the reality that people can be deeply nervous about what is happening nearby.

Moran took great pains to point out that the panhandlers on Franklin Street that can irritate residents and retailers were largely not the clients served by the IFC’s shelter at Rosemary and Columbia streets. And he often pointed out that giving some spare change to those panhandlers, while well-intentioned, was in many ways counterproductive to dealing with the larger issues that led people to live on the street.

Still, neighborhood after neighborhood has objected to the possibility that a new homeless shelter might find a home there.  Moran has tenaciously pressed forward.

And he has been an effective fund raiser to make it happen.

The IFC under Moran’s leadership has made considerable progress toward its goal of raising $5.6 million for a new shelter.

“We’re very grateful for Chris’ long years of service,” said Rebecca McCullough. “Community House was his dream and idea. We hope people will give generously to make that happen.”

Indeed, completing the fund-raising the facility – and navigating the final shoals to get it built and serving more homeless people – would be a wonderful legacy for Moran, whose energy, dedication and passion have meant so much to the community.