There was a recent letter printed regarding thoughts on the Asheville homeless shelter and how to best serve the homeless population. The writer suggested creating/building a campground [“More Thought Needed on Homeless Shelter,” Sept. 1, Xpress]. I think this idea warrants consideration.
A campground, complete with bathrooms, showers, water pumps, maybe a covered pavilion and even a dog run, could provide much of what is needed. Include services such as trash pickup and some nighttime lighting. A campground that provides basic needs and also permits as much lifestyle freedom as possible is an option worth looking into.
Other services could be added as needs and volunteers become available. Church groups would feel more safe and welcome dropping off sandwiches and food boxes. Perhaps eventually, mental health providers could have scheduled visits. All this might be viewed as a temporary solution or a summertime solution, but it would surely be cheaper for Asheville and possibly even more desirable to some of the homeless people themselves than many shelter or apartment arrangements.
What if Asheville came up with a new and innovative model that could be utilized in other cities? Think of all the people who might be helped!
— Diana Jurss