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