Letter: Neighbors have supported Haywood Road nonprofits

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I was gladdened to read the first unbiased and accurate coverage of the current controversy swirling around 610 Haywood Road in West Asheville in the [Aug. 15] paper [“West Asheville Needle Exchange, Free Café Raise Community Complaints,” Xpress]. Thank you for not referring to Kairos West and 12 Baskets as a “homeless shelter,” which they never have been, and for not referring to the transient folks passing time in the adjoining garden as a “homeless camp.” I believe these inappropriate and misleading labels have contributed to some of the misunderstandings between property and small-business owners and the four nonprofits cited by the city.

Other sources have made it seem as if the neighboring businesses to 610 Haywood have been hostile to their endeavors, and that has not been the case. Instead, they have been overwhelmingly supportive and interested in searching for solutions and commonalities, participating in several meetings between the leaders of the nonprofits and themselves in the weeks leading up to the Trinity Church community meeting.

[In mid-August], The Steady Collective sponsored a syringe pickup training and cleanup event, and over 55 community members showed up to learn how to safely dispose of sharps and clean up the refuse in the streets bordering 610 Haywood. More cleanup days are being planned for future months.

As a regular volunteer at 12 Baskets Café, I invite all members of the Asheville community to drop by for a free, hot lunch Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and get to know us and our patrons. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you experience.

— Kristina Orchard-Hays


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5 thoughts on “Letter: Neighbors have supported Haywood Road nonprofits

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    ‘gladdened’ … glad you were! Ahem, yes it had become an overnight campground for several weeks / months! How bout they host all this over in Biltmore Village at
    the All Souls church fellowship hall ? Then they could panhandle the tourists and become sidewalk entertainment! Draw their clientele to Biltmore Village!

  2. jason

    Why is it wrong for citizens of West Asheville to NOT want heroin users walking up and down the streets begging and harassing them? Why is it wrong to think that providing a place for these people to congregate is healthy for our community?
    People who live in these neighborhoods have rights as well. I wish these organizations would quit speaking as though they speak for everyone in the community.

  3. SpareChange

    It’s time for progressives who do not politically fetishize drug addicted transients to speak up and be willing to openly express that the problems of this population are far beyond the assistance that can be provided by the small number of well intentioned (but ultimately misled) people and organizations located at 610 Haywood.

    The narrative some are attempting to perpetuate is that it is somehow politically reactionary, heartless and illiberal to be critical of what has been taking place at 610 Haywood. It is not. The letter writer offers a very selective account of neighborhood concerns and reactions, and in the process negates the considerable criticism that has been voiced, and the negative fallout and ripple effects that stem from encouraging drug addicted transients to congregate in a particular area that is ill equipped to deal with their problems.

    This part of West Asheville is filled with working class folks and small businesses who work long and hard to eek out a little bit of economic and social stability. I think it is wrong to impose this situation upon them. That’s without even getting into whether these efforts can be empirically shown to really benefit those supposedly being served, or whether such efforts in this particular location are worth the considerable negative impacts on others doing their best to contribute positively to the community by simply taking care of themselves, their families and their businesses. If a majority of the people who live and work every day in the surrounding community, and who are the real stakeholders in the community, are genuinely supportive of this effort, I’d be interested in seeing how that is measured and determined. My sense is that many are reluctant to openly express their actual concerns due to not wanting to be viewed as unsympathetic.

    To be truly helpful, the drug addicted and the homeless, most of whom are transients and are neither actively seeking assistance with their addictions, nor will remain in Asheville long enough to receive genuine assistance, require a range of support and services that is far beyond what these organizations can provide. Sometimes a little bit of inadequate help IS worse than no help at all once you consider all aspects of its impact.

  4. John Penley

    You will find the same kind of comments about organizations doing what these people are doing all over the country and in this case they are really over the top. I went to Trinity all my life and was a member of Troop 3 there and they always preached to us about saving lives and helping the poor. The needle exchange program at Firestorm says the Narcan they give out has saved around 60 lives. I grew up in West Asheville and as a native born West Ashevillian I say I am glad they are here in MY NEIGHBORHOOD. How many of the commenters are from here ? Too bad you were not here when I grew up you could have complained about the rednecks who were picking on your kids at school and the fact that none of the real estate was upscale and there were almost no bars and expensive restaurants. It is really fashionable to hate the poor and like the hipsters do everywhere drive rents up and gentrify poor neighborhoods you have done it to West Asheville.

  5. Enlightened Enigma

    get Firestorm to trade off needle exchange locations with other places like Malaprops, or Starbucks, or Eblen Charities, Haywood congregation, other places …keep the clientele spread across the city.

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