Letter: More support needed for the homeless

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding “Homelessness, Safety Rank as Top Downtown Concerns,” March 16, Xpress:] I agree that homelessness is the most important challenge facing downtown. It is, of course, a multifaceted issue. In order to move forward with a solution, more support must be provided to the homeless in the areas of affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment and pet-friendly shelters.

I realize that this third item may be the most challenging of all, but as one whose pets are literally part of the family, I understand why homeless people are unwilling to go to shelters if doing so requires them to give up the companionship and unconditional love provided by their beloved animals. These companions contribute to a sense of “home” to us all and freely give the kind of support that allows us to weather many types of challenges. The homeless should not be denied this critical type of support.

While I realize that having a downtown public restroom would most likely require 24/7 supervision, to expect the homeless to refrain from “relieving” themselves in alleys and on streets when they have no other option is simply unreasonable.

— Phebe Watson


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5 thoughts on “Letter: More support needed for the homeless

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Asheville does way more for the ‘homeless’ than 99% of all other places on the planet. get real. It’s a waste.

  2. Frank

    The facet that is most difficult to come to grips with is that the more support you provide the more transient people will arrive in the summer and choose to stay permanently to consume and ultimately exceed our supply of support at which point there will be a need to provide even more. For this reason we have to make tough choices like more mental health care and long-term supportive housing but no low barrier housing.

    • MV

      Yeah, sort of like advertising for more and more tourists when they’re already coming and we have no need to advertise…and these two problems (plus housing issues, raping the natural environment, public distrust of many politicians/consultants/surveys, the understaffed police, our crappy overpriced hospital, failing infrastructure, stressed teachers, pot-holes roads) are deeply intertwined and we’re waiting for a local leader to step forward and voice what every intelligent human knows and try to actually do something about these issues before we plunge off da bluff….

  3. Taxpayer

    Not sure how much more support we can afford. The Days Inn was $13 million plus renovations and annual operating costs to provide a permanent residence for about 80 people. The Ramada will cost COA a couple million. We have yet to reduce the homeless population even 100 people with about 500 left. Asheville isn’t a big enough town to pay $10 million or more every year to support the incoming homeless people we’re attracting.

  4. indy499

    The letter writer’s entire premise is wrong. In her first paragraph she writes,

    In order to move forward with a solution, more support must be provided to the homeless…

    Actually, no we don’t.

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