Letter: Don’t spend millions on low-barrier shelter

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding “Council Approves COVID Relief Spending Categories,” Sept. 22, Xpress:] Allocate $9.2 million for a low-barrier shelter? Absolutely not! It is my opinion these funds were intended to rescue existing businesses and organizations that were impacted by the virus. Especially businesses affected by closing and/or reduced volume as a result of the guidelines: They had to lay off staff, and the financial impact of all of this went to their bottom line. Some establishments closed and others held out, and while those that closed cannot share in this fund, the others that remained open should be given some of these funds. Some form of tiered support would need to be established.

When one looks at a cross section of the homeless population here in our city, there seem to be a lot of recent arrivals and/or transients, and others who want to live the bohemian lifestyle. There are few of these travelers who have been affected as a result of the virus and its outcomes, for e.g., losing one’s employment or business.

Asheville has become a desirable travel destination for tourists; this includes the full range of socioeconomic levels.

The city already owns land and can establish a site for those travelers, much like a KOA campground, including parking for those who travel in automobiles and/or RVs. Establish campsites that are adequately distanced; fire pits and permanent grill sites; and multiple sites that include bathroom facilities, to include showers and sinks; and a washer/dryer.

Spending $1 million to $2 million to construct a site on city-owned property and using the rest for the rescue of existing organizations would seem to me a far better allocation of the rescue funds!

— Reuben DeJernette


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5 thoughts on “Letter: Don’t spend millions on low-barrier shelter

  1. Taxpayer

    It will be a cluster no one will accept responsibility for except the taxpayers who will be forced to pay for the hot expensive mess it will be.

  2. MV

    Sounds a little complicated for a city run by people who can barely figure out how to tie their shoes without hiring consultants.

  3. Gordon 1820

    I agree with the writer of this letter. It is a very loose interpretation of the funds to use them for pet projects. I realise downtown businesses need to operate in a viable city without having people sleeping in their doorways, and people filling up the parks waiting for the next meal to arrive, but seriously, is this a great model to use for running a City. Now that Cathy Ball is moving on, who will make sure this project will even work, or will it just languish and make the lives of the residents of Verde Vista Apartments, Oakley and anyone who shops at RiverRidge and Walmart unbearable. The main issue with this project is it is TEMPORARY, so this puts a finger in the dyke and makes a few people happy quickly, and then what? This city does not have the funds to sustain this project, so why squander the funds, just because you have a windfall.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      then what? the evil controlling democrackkks will TAX US HIGHER with zero accountability!
      Democrackkk CONTROL of us is nothing BUT EVIL … We never see them bear ANY responsibility for anything…
      Demolcrackkks equal NON leadership. year in year out…such a decrepit slothy ‘city’…

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