Asheville City Council preview: housing for the homeless and tech for the economy

While Asheville City Council’s meeting next Tuesday, April 8, doesn’t include any hot-button public hearings, it does include projects meant to tackle the lack of housing, especially for the chronically homeless, and improve economic development by bringing in a tech sector “fellow.”

Council is considering using $58,106 from its affordable housing trust fund for the 30-unit Oak Hill Commons development in West Asheville, intended for “hard-to-house” locals, especially the chronically homeless. According to the city’s most recent count of the local homeless population, there are 47 chronically homeless people remaining in Asheville, and this project is intended “as the last necessary step to ending chronic homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County,” according to the staff memo summarizing it. The project will also require additional financing from other public and private organizations before it’s built.

Intending to boost the local economy, Council is also considering an application for a partnership with Code for America, a nonprofit aimed at improving local governments through better use of technology and the expertise of tech sector professionals. There’s already a volunteer Code for America “brigade” in Asheville that’s worked extensively on some open data efforts.

Council is now considering applying for a fellowship with the organization, specifically for a project related to economic growth and development. If successful, a “fellow” from Code for America would assist Asheville’s government with a project of their mutual choosing. The amount of city funds required for the fellowship would be determined later, but the application would start the process.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, on the second floor of City Hall.

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