Letter: The dynamic of ‘travelers’ and police

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have attended and presented at the annual National Alliance to End Homelessness conference. It is an able organization.

I’m sure that many Asheville residents are aware of “the travelers” who regularly pass through. They are the heirs of those who rode the rails back during the Great Depression. Those whom I engaged told me that Asheville has a reputation for being a place where transients can congregate and panhandle with little to no resistance from the local police, outside of the occasional show of force at one of the many campsites.

Just like other nuisance activities, the lack of regular patrolling invites chaos and boundary testing. This has been a long-running issue and can only be solved by a community united by bold government leadership.

I think Asheville has some great service providers, who are correct in prioritizing permanent housing for the native homeless population. A low-barrier shelter where issues can be assessed and stability coordinated would be useful. Drug treatment is needed everywhere these days.

— Dale Davidson
Former downtown Asheville resident
Annapolis, Md.

Editor’s note: Most of the letters about downtown Asheville in the March 15 issue came in after a recent Xpress newsletter that highlighted three articles covering concerns about public safety and cleanliness downtown. Those stories can be found at avl.mx/chuavl.mx/chw and avl.mx/cht. Articles about the recent report on reducing homelessness in Asheville by the National Alliance to End Homelessness can be found at avl.mx/cj1 and avl.mx/cj2. To sign up for Xpress’ free newsletter, go to avl.mx/8st.



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