Buncombe County seeks community involvement on new poverty plan

Buncombe County is taking new steps to alleviate poverty, and it’s looking to the community for ideas. Representatives of 22 organizations attended a July 15 Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) meeting, where they learned of Buncombe’s new Request for Information (RFI) on poverty remediation. County leaders are interested in community practices to remedy poverty and are seeking information […]

Report shines light on Asheville’s hunger, homelessness problems

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.

Mold Conundrum: Tenants at Pinnacle Ridge (now known as Hawthorne Northside), an apartment complex near UNC Asheville on Merrimon Avenue, say that problems with mold proved incredibly difficult to solve; city officials say they’re limited in what actions they can take. photos by Max Cooper

Breaking the mold: complaints spotlight Asheville’s rental housing issues

Multiple complaints about mold, rot, and other woes at a Merrimon Avenue apartment complex earlier this year casts doubt on the ability of local governments to deal with what many see as a serious health issue, leaving tenants feeling powerless to get their grievances addressed. And with the Asheville area having some of the highest housing costs in the state and one-third of its working population earning low wages, many local renters face similar issues.

Homeless, nonprofits, APD vie over downtown policing

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.

Crowd shows up to object to Progress rate hike-attachment0

Crowd shows up to object to Progress rate hike

At a five-hour hearing conducted by the North Carolina Utilities Commission last night, every speaker except those representing the Council of Independent Business Owners and Biltmore Farms objected to rate hikes proposed by Progress Energy. The speakers’ reasons for opposition ranged from the impact of the rate increases on the working poor to projected environmental damage. Photo by Max Cooper

Post-recession Buncombe still struggling, local poverty rates surpass state and national average-attachment0

Post-recession Buncombe still struggling, local poverty rates surpass state and national average

After sharing 42 slides worth of charts, data and graphs, an independent economic consultant speaking to local doctors, health advocates, politicians and board members at the Feb. 22 meeting of the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services made a conclusion: Though the recession started five years ago, the numbers show that Buncombe County still has “a ways to go.” Highlights of the presentation, along with the full presentation, can be found in this post. (Slide image courtesy of SYNEVA Economics)