The heartless action that destroyed a homeless encampment in Asheville on Feb. 1, one of the harshest weather days and nights of the season, is one that should shame those decision-makers responsible for ordering it to be done. While to err is human, to err in such a thoughtless, inhumane, cruel fashion, knowing those affected would most likely lose their belongings, their shelter, possibly not finding a place to shelter for the night, is inexcusable, in my opinion.
In addition, that government entities partner — one (Department of Transportation) destroying, the other (Asheville Police Department) supposedly rescuing — hardly makes sense to me, even under good weather conditions. If I had a choice, which obviously does not exist, my tax dollars would be spent only on providing assistance in these instances, just as my volunteer dollars do through various helping agencies in town.
So, the paradoxical situation is that we pay taxes to allow destruction of humans’ property, means of surviving and dignity, while we voluntarily pay to improve those circumstances. Again, it makes no sense.
I would much rather to be able to realistically expect government agencies to think and act positively toward all their constituents, assisting those volunteers who are already showing us the humanitarian way as well as finding creative ways to improve life for the many underserved in the area.
— Sandra Houts
Editor’s note: The nonprofit BeLoved Asheville announced that, following public outcry, the NCDOT will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance about removing homeless camps (avl.mx/8zr). Meanwhile, the Citizen Times reported that city and DOT officials are working together on new guidelines about camp removals (avl.mx/8zs).