Council to hear Code Purple update amid freezing temperatures

Asheville city seal

If next week’s forecast is correct, overnight temperatures in Asheville will dip below freezing several times, potentially exposing those living without shelter to harsh conditions.

It’s fitting, then, that members of Asheville City Council will hear an update on the city’s Code Purple program during their meeting of Tuesday, Nov. 15. The initiative aims to keep as many people as possible out of the cold when temperatures are at or below 32 degrees. Council will also hear updates on other city homelessness efforts.

According to a presentation available before the meeting, Code Purple, which runs from Oct. 15 to April 15 this season, was started by area homeless shelters in 2009 to increase capacity and ease entry requirements on freezing nights. Shelter participation is voluntary and fluctuates each year.

This season represents the first year that the city and Buncombe County will formally collaborate with area shelters on Code Purple. Asheville allocated $50,000 toward Code Purple shelters in the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget, and the city’s Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee has developed a Code Purple working group, consisting of the heads of local shelters, emergency responders, city staff and others.

A total of 105 Code Purple shelter beds will be available to homeless residents through Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, an increase of 27 beds over the previous season. The move responds to an increasing unsheltered homeless population in Asheville: The latest point-in-time count of homelessness, presented to Council in May, found 232 such residents, double the count in 2021.

The Asheville-Buncombe County Homeless Coalition will notify providers and referral partners, community members and media partners about Code Purple 48 hours in advance via email and social media. Buncombe County will also send text alerts.

Entry for shelters during Code Purple ends at 8 p.m., although law enforcement, emergency responders, Mission Hospital and outreach teams are able to facilitate late entry. ABCCM and the Asheville’s public bus system will coordinate free transportation to shelters.

In other news

Council members will conduct public hearings to consider a conditional rezoning and land use incentive grant for a proposed 153-unit rental housing complex in East Asheville. The developer, South Carolina-based Orange Capital Advisors LLC, plans to offer 31 of the units to individuals and families earning at or below 80% of the area median income ($45,000 for an individual; $64,250 for a family of four) for a minimum of 20 years; 16 of those units will also accept federal housing choice vouchers or rental assistance, and one would house someone who is currently homeless.

To induce the developer to offer that affordability, the city would rebate an estimated $2,480,000 in property taxes over 17 years for a 153-unit rental housing complex in East Asheville. The resulting subsidy, an estimated $80,000 per unit, is the maximum recommended under current city policy.

Council will also hear a presentation on the city’s fiscal year 2021-22 audit. No additional materials were available prior to the meeting.

Consent agenda and public comment

The consent agenda for the meeting contains 11 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:

  • A $175,000 budget amendment to accept grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for the training and hiring of a wellness coordinator for the Asheville Police Department through fiscal year 2023-24. The city would be responsible for continuing to fund the position after that time.
  • A resolution to rescind a $1 million Housing Trust Fund loan offer approved for Beaucatcher Vista LLC in May 2020. The developer chose not to pursue its original goal of constructing a 40-unit affordable rental complex on 16 Restaurant Court near Tunnel Road; the property is now under contract with Mountain Housing Opportunities. Council approved an $850,000 loan for MHO in August, and the nonprofit plans to develop its own multifamily affordable housing on the property.
  • A resolution to reassign the Reparations Project Management contract from TEQuity LLC to Charlotte-based Amplify Consulting. TEQuity requested the change after managing the project for 14 months due to “capacity constraints associated with the company president accepting a full-time position with another agency.” A staff report on the resolution notes that Amplify Consulting has previously worked with the city on Reimagining Public Safety and Equity-Focused Budget Engagement efforts; the scope, budget and timeline for the project will remain unchanged.

Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 5297.

Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 5297; written comments can be sent to until 9 a.m. Nov. 15. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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