Press release from MountainTrue:
On Monday, October 15, local parents, alongside business, health and nonprofit leaders held a press conference to announce the official launch of Family-Friendly Affordable Buncombe. The initiative advocates for the property tax revenues from the upcoming sale of Mission Health to be allocated toward community-wide investments in early childhood education, homes and apartments that are affordable for working families and better public transit.
At the press conference, Buncombe County parents Kaitlyn Guyer, Ebony Reece and Rachelle Sorenson-Coxe shared personal stories of challenges with these issues. Other speakers included Executive Director of Children First/Communities in Schools Natasha Adwaters, Executive Director of Buncombe Partnership for Children Amy Barry and CEO of Mountain Area Health Education Center Jeffrey E. Heck, MD.
The Family-Friendly Affordable Buncombe initiative was created by a core group of coalitions who have been researching and working on these issues for years: the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative, Success Equation and the Asheville Regional Transit Coalition. “This tax revenue is an unprecedented opportunity to invest in working families and the future of Buncombe County,” says Natasha Adwaters, executive director Children First/Communities In Schools. “Family Friendly Affordable Buncombe’s plan moves us closer to a county where all families can access high-quality preschool for their children, live in homes and apartments that are attainable for working parents, and rely on a public transit system that runs on time, all day, and more often.”
Family-Friendly Affordable Buncombe is a response to long-existing difficulties faced by Buncombe County residents. Buncombe County homes cost 4.2 times more than the county’s median income, and 51.5% of renters are considered “cost-burdened” — meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. Additionally, the average Buncombe County family with two adults spends $4,428 on transportation every year, and the average annual enrollment fee for high-quality preschool is $9,300.
Family-Friendly Affordable Buncombe is an initiative by the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative, Success Equation, and the Asheville Regional Transit Coalition to leverage the unique opportunity provided to our community by the sale of Mission Health in order to make our region more affordable for Buncombe County families and workers. For more information: familyfriendlybuncombe.org.