Letter: How about a nice campground for the homeless?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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


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8 thoughts on “Letter: How about a nice campground for the homeless?

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Hey Diana…this sounds like the perfect opportunity for YOU! Now WHERE would YOU want to PUT it ?
    I guess you don’t know that AVL just bought the homeless a whole hotel or two, right? Taxpayers are beyond disgusted with this city.

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    This writer has NO clue as to how long it would take and what misery it would be to try and get a campground ZONED to suit them !!! I tried!

  3. kw

    Why not utilize some of our area golf courses for this purpose at night when not being played?

    • Jack Herer

      Bob Waters Field at E. J. Whitmire Stadium would be a a
      nice little campground for the homeless. It is a 13,742-seat football stadium on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
      The Business Plan can be modeled after the stellar proposal and implementation to house displaced residents at the Superdome in New Orleans after the Katrina disaster.
      Whitmire Stadium comes complete with Men’s and Women’s locker rooms for toileting, showering, and dressing. Hot meals can be prepared in the spacious kitchen and volunteers in food service stands can dispense them to the masses.
      Cots, bed linens, and blankets can be procured through volunteer drives throughout the region.
      Other volunteer objectives should include acquisition of essential food rations and toiletries.
      Western Carolina also owns several touring motorcoaches used to transport athletes and band members. These underutilized assets would be of better use to the community if they drove the homeless population from Asheville to the city of Cullowhee.
      These seemingly lost souls should perk right up after a beautiful drive through the mountains into the serene villa of Cullowhee. Fresh air, the Tuckaseegee River, and a change of scenery would inspire anyone to achieve their best.
      The economy would be strengthened because job vacancies will practically drop to zero after these fine men and women have their hearts and souls rejuvenated by the love spread by Western Carolina residents.
      Drug abuse and overdose deaths will exponentially decline due to the lack of gang activity and open air drug markets in that region.
      Hey, it is a win – win. Asheville can have good, clean fun again, and our compassionate human rights supporter can have a benchmark homeless camp in the heart of Cullowhee. Bless Your Heart.

  4. Jennifer

    The person who made the statement about the city offering a campsite for the homeless is a great ideal. I really thought the same thing. I would be willing to offer my help if this were possible.

  5. Mike R.

    A city funded/city run campground for the “homeless”, just like the low barrier (a.k.a., you can do drugs and alcohol) is a really bad idea. Many of these people do not need enabling; they need tough love to push them into greater personal responsibility.
    Truly homeless people that need a leg up and are willing to work for it are not in this group. I’m talking about transients, many younger people who want to live off public sympathy, handouts, and theft, if need be. They see no problem with littering our communities and streets, panhandling at intersections and partaking of Asheville’s downtown scene at the public expense of greater policing requirements and cleanup work.
    I’ll keep saying that the more you support this type of lifestyle, the more that will come.

  6. Big Al

    Asheville, like most cities, has homeless shelters. Whether privately or publicly operated, these shelters all have to take liability into account as ultimately THEY are legally responsible for the safety of the inhabitants. For this reason, all of these shelters have RULES.

    Homeless campers are the ones who refuse to live by these rules, that is why they chose to find spaces without rules to pitch their tents.

    Any campsite that is deliberately organized by a private or public institution would also have the same liability issues and therefore the same RULES. Homeless campers will avoid them for the same reasons they avoid the shelters.

  7. Gordon 1820

    Mike R is right on point with his comment. When the City allowed camping in Aston Park (downtown) it took about a week for trouble to break out. Food was delivered, people were checked on, but this didnt stop them from breaking into all the homes down the street at 2am in the morning. Taking whatever they wanted from the back yards, fighting in the street, outright smashing each other up with bats, and using the sidewalk as a toilet. After 2 weeks, it was hell for everyone, the people that were there, and the people who lived next door to them. It doesnt work without a LOT of supverision and money.

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