Felonies for feeding the homeless?!
It’s an outrage that 15 mutual aid workers who volunteer their time and resources to help feed houseless people were recently charged with “felony littering” for being part of a food distribution event with an art build in Aston Park last December. Furthermore, most of the 15 have been banned from all Asheville parks.
Aston Park hosted a city-sanctioned sanctuary camp for part of 2021, until April. Asheville’s own Human Relations Commission proposed ending sweeps, back in May 2021; the Human Relations Commission of Asheville and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support sanctuary camping with sanitation services, especially during the COVID pandemic. And yet, there have been 26 homeless camp evictions! Now, about 30 people have been evicted from the former Ramada Inn, with no choice but to be back on the street.
There is even a draft ordinance proposing a limit of two food distributions per park per year! What is going on? It’s an all-out war on the homeless, supported by comfortable people who profit from tourism and gentrification. Where is our compassion for those less fortunate than we are? Making it illegal to offer mutual aid is not placing value on human life.
Homelessness is created by policies that prioritize tourism and gentrification over affordable housing. In the name of our common humanity, Council must stop the sweeps and drop the felony charges.
— Cathy Holt