Asheville city government appears to be failing its responsibilities as the custodian of homelessness funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To receive such funds, HUD requires a community to establish a Continuum of Care to carry out responsibilities that HUD prescribes. City government has claimed the leadership role in Asheville/Buncombe Continuum of Care. Among the duties of the continuum is to “coordinat[e] the implementation of a housing and service system within its geographic area that meets the needs of the individuals and families who experience homelessness there.” [avl.mx/b6m]
The city’s actions are mainly punitive — to reduce the number and visibility of people experiencing homelessness. Do you see much city coordination with any but the Police Department? Do you see the city involved in the implementation of a [homelessness] housing and service system? Do you see steps by the city to address the needs of homeless individuals and families?
The city may dole the HUD funds, but it seems faith-based entities and nongovernmental organizations are being left without guidance, and any sense of a partnership with them is wanting. Homelessness is a difficult and challenging issue. The homeless population can be a difficult and challenging group to serve. But difficulties and challenges have never gotten better if we make them invisible or leave them unaddressed. I urge the city to own up to its responsibilities as the continuum’s lead.
— Walt Leginski