Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a new book by travel writer Gary Sizer, local volunteers’ efforts to help winterize Standing Rock’s camps, and an initiative to distribute care packages among homeless individuals.
“There are better ways to handle this problem, and one is already being tried in Albuquerque, N.M., under the mayorship of Richard Berry, appropriately called the Better Way program.”
“While some people choose to be homeless and some people choose to manipulate the system, a lot of people are truly stuck in homelessness and need assistance getting out.”
“We have room for hotels and tourist needs, but we allow our homeless to die!”
“I also believe it’s important to stress compassion regardless of the circumstances that lead someone to periods of homelessness.”
Although chronic homelessness has been curtailed substantially since 2005, the combination of a severe economic downturn, an acute shortage of affordable housing and the rising cost of living has hindered the overall progress in eradicating homelessness. Despite those setbacks, partners in the project are forging ahead with new initiatives to combat housing insecurity and ensure that those in need of shelter get it.
Members of the Be Loved Community, formerly homeless residents of Asheville and several city council members gathered outside of City Hall prior to City Council’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, to listen to firsthand accounts of homelessness, voice support for the city’s affordable housing initiatives and encourage members of the Asheville community to stand […]
“if the city of Asheville really wants to fulfill the mayor’s promise to Michelle Obama to end veteran’s homelessness, it is going to have to figure out a way to fund and build a veterans apartment building or create some affordable housing for veterans another way.”
In 2005, city and county officials adopted the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, an ambitious collaboration involving many local agencies. Significant progress has been made: Since 2005, chronic homelessness is down 82 percent, from 293 people to just 54, city officials say. Yet there are still homeless folks on local streets.
“I’m glad to see community members raising questions about what we are doing to end veteran homelessness in Buncombe County. No one who has served our country should be left to live in a car, a camp or a shelter.”
Ten years ago, the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee, made up of eight city and eight county appointees from a variety of organizations, embarked on an ambitious plan to end chronic homelessness in Asheville. Now, almost precisely that amount of time later, it is coming to fruition, with a final project that cty of Asheville Homeless […]
Asheville’s homeless population declined in what city officials are dubbing “a good year,” according to an annual count conducted in late January. However, while local programs may be having an impact, one of the officials in charge of administering them says that economic pressures and a lack of affordable housing continue to create a difficult situation.
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.”
Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released an in-depth report examining the hunger and homelessness situations in 25 cities across the country, including Asheville. The report found that the city has serious issues with low wages, unaffordable housing, poverty, and the number of domestic violence survivors who end up homeless. Increases in homelessness are modest, but more families are homeless. The report also highlighted some local organizations doing “exemplary” work on the issues but predicted that coming social service cuts could make the situations on both fronts more dire.
A meeting originally scheduled between the Asheville Downtown Association, city of Asheville staff and Council members is now a “downtown summit” in Pack Library at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, with the public invited to attend and weigh in on the issues affecting the area.
At tonight’s meeting, Asheville City Council approved new rules allowing urban farming and produce sales throughout the city. Council also approved starting the search for a summer event to replace Bele Chere. On a less optimistic note, the public and city officials discussed increasing issues of crime, policing and homelessness in Asheville’s core.
At a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, city of Asheville staff and police officers met with homeless activists and local nonprofit representatives to discuss a new law enforcement approach that focuses on more arrests in the city’s downtown. Responses varied, ranging from concerns about the impacts of a failing system to criticisms of the Asheville Police Department’s new strategy.
After months of debate, commissioners are set to finalize the Buncombe County budget when they meet Tuesday, June 25.
Last year Xpress profiled Patrick Littlejohn, a formerly homeless composer who pulled himself out of poverty through music. He recently received a full scholarship to the Practical Schillinger School of Music.
Photos by Rich Orris.