Today: Asheville Housing Fair hosts workshops, pool of resources

Image courtesy of the Asheville Housing Fair event page

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, Saturday, Sept. 19, The City of Asheville and the Land of the Sky Association of Realtors hosts a free public workshop for homeowners and renters.

“Are you interested in buying a home?” reads the fair’s website. “Are you renting and would like to own? Need help paying your rent? Do you want to know how to improve your credit? Thinking about using your home as a vacation rental? Curious about tiny homes?”

Well, the site continues, the Asheville Housing Fair “will guide you in the right direction through all of this and more. With workshops focused on practical ‘how-to’ guidance and over 20 housing resources on site to discuss your needs, the Asheville Housing Fair is the place for all things related to affordable housing opportunities.”

The fair, held at the Stephens-Lee Center at 30 George Washington Carver Ave., will begin with a meet-and-greet, followed by a schedule of programs:

For consumers:

  • 10–10:30 a.m. – “Living in 120 Square Feet”
    • Presented by Laura LaVoie. Laura is an experienced writer and blogger who lives in a tiny home built on a foundation in Western NC.  Her blog, documents her experience building and living in a tiny house.
  • 10:30–11:15 a.m. – Learn Renter’s Rights
    • Presented by Ben Many, Pisgah Legal Services. Ben Many will lead a workshop on understanding the landlord-tenant laws in North Carolina, lease agreements, tenant safety and responsibilities, landlord liability, the eviction process, and more. She will answer questions regarding tips for protecting your tenant rights and laws surrounding these rights.
  • 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. – Credit: Get It. Keep It. Improve It
    • Presented by Sarah Brown, OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling. Decent credit scores are necessary to get a home loan and often to secure a rental. But how good is good enough? What’s different about how landlords and mortgage lenders view credit? Find out how to get your credit reports and scores and learn how to improve and maintain your scores.
  • 12:30 – 1:15 p.m. – The ABC’s of Home Buying
    • Presented by broker Randall Barnett – member of the Affordable Housing Committee with Board of Realtors. Randall Barnett will discuss why buying a home is a good idea and homebuyers’ rights. He will offer a transaction map to buying a home, as a hands-on approach to finding a new home in WNC.  Mortgage Lender Donna King Reeves will co-present, and Joan Cooper from the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will explain their unique program or homeownership.

For providers:

  • 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. – What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
    • Presented by Alan Glines & Vaidila Satvika,  Planners for the City of Asheville. City of Asheville Planning Department staff will address the ins and outs of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) as a means of providing housing while earning income. They’ll provide info on questions such as how ADU’s provide affordable housing;  how the new  regulations for ADU’s make their development easier; the process for owning/building an ADU; and what the permitting process looks like.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Homestays
    • Presented by Shannon Tuch – Principle Planner for the City of Asheville. Shannon Tuch, Principal Planner for the City of Asheville,  will help those interested in vacation rentals and homestays learn the facts about this very topical issue. She will answer questions such as, what is a homestay? How do homestays provide income to cost-burdened homeowners?  What are the new regulations? What is the permitting process?
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. – Landlords Are Part of the Solution
    • Joell Steininger, HUD VASH Coordinator at Veterans Administration Charles VA Medical Center, John Rakes, Veteran Services of Carolina Director at Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries, Kirk Booth, private developer and landlord,  Kelley Freeman, Housing Specialist for Veterans at Homeward Bound, and a representative from the Asheville Housing Authority. Moderator: Christiana Tugman, City of Asheville Homeless Initiative Coordinator.
    • The panelists will discuss the benefits of accepting tenants with housing subsidies; how landlords intersect with supportive housing programs; and how landlords can access subsidy.  Panelists will inform landlords and potential landlords about the rights, tools, and opportunities they have to access subsidies and help provide affordable housing in Asheville. Learn the FAQ about a landlord who happily accepts tenants with subsidies.
  • 1:30 p.m. – Everything You Wanted to Know About Affordable Housing:
    • Join with experts in the field of affordable housing to explore the challenges in making housing affordable, how programs and policy are formed, how housing decisions are made, where local housing priorities come from, and how to add your voice to the discussion.
      • Scott Dedman, Executive Director, Mountain Housing Opportunities
      • Greg Borom, Advocacy Director, Children First/Community in Schools
      • Lindsey Simerly, Chairperson, Asheville Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
      • Jeff Staudinger, Assistant Director, Asheville Community and Economic Development Department
      • David West, Executive Director, Land of the Sky Association of Realtors

Also available will be a number of local resources for housing questions or needs:

  • Western North Carolina Green Building Council
  • Pisgah Legal Services
  • Smoky Mountain Center
  • Givens Affordable Communities
  • Mountain Housing Opportunities
  • Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries
  • Phillip Gibson – North Carolina Radon Coordinator
  • AB TECH Construction Mgmt. and Sustainable Technology Program
  • Mortgage Bankers Assoc. of WNC
  • Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS®
  • Veterans Administration Charles VA Medical Center –Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing
  • OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling
  • Self-Help Credit Union
  • The ARC of Buncombe County
  • Asheville Housing Authority
  • Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
  • United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County NC 2-1-1
  • The Mediation Center
  • Homeward Bound of Western North Carolina

For more information, click here for the housing fair’s website and click here for the event page on Facebook.


From the City of Asheville:

ASHEVILLE – The City of Asheville and Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS® invite members of the media to the 2015 Asheville Housing Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Stephens Lee Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave.

This event is free and open to the public and will guide consumers and homeowners through questions surrounding credit, renting, vacation rentals and more.

Representatives from more than 20 nonprofit organizations and associations will be on site to provide information and one-on-one assistance to persons seeking to learn more about affordable housing options.

A series of workshops will be held, including:

– Living in 120 Square Feet – Life in a Tiny Home
– Learn Your Rights as a Renter
– Credit: Get It. Keep It. Improve It
– The ABCs of Home Buying
– What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
– Homestays
– Landlords are Part of the Solution
– Everything You Wanted to Know About Affordable Housing

A tiny home exhibition will be on display in the Stephens Lee Center parking lot. Two Tiny Homes will be on display.

More information is available at



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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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