Letter writer: Homeward Bound of WNC works to house homeless veterans

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m glad to see community members raising questions about what we are doing to end veteran homelessness in Buncombe County. No one who has served our country should be left to live in a car, a camp or a shelter.

Together with our community, Homeward Bound is ending veteran homelessness in Buncombe County. Our partnership with the city of Asheville and the Department of Veterans Affairs resulted in a $2.7 million grant to implement the SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families) program to move veterans from streets, shelters and temporary housing into permanent housing of their own. We’re working to make sure that we don’t duplicate services that are already in the community but rather fill in the gaps so no veteran is left homeless.

Since getting our team up and running in January 2015, we’ve housed 28 veterans — men and women who live here and have served our country. So far, we have a 100 percent retention rate. By the end of May, we’ll house another 15 people. Our team consists of case managers, an outreach worker who works to find unsheltered and chronically homeless vets, and a housing specialist who is tackling our biggest challenge — finding affordable housing.

We’re excited about the progress that we are making in battling veteran homelessness. That said — we have 37 clients in line for housing. We have funds for housing, and we have staff to provide relational and practical support for our clients — but we continue to look for housing to move them into. Our biggest challenge in serving these families is finding housing that is affordable.

Readers who want to help a veteran by offering a vacant apartment or trailer should contact Kelly Freeman at 772-2846.

And for those who are interested in learning more about this problem overall, consider attending our Forum on Veteran Homelessness this fall. It will be held on Nov. 12, and information and tickets will be found on our website — www.homewardboundwnc.org — in the coming months.

— Beth Russo
Director of Communications and Annual Campaign
Homeward Bound of WNC

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4 thoughts on “Letter writer: Homeward Bound of WNC works to house homeless veterans

  1. John Penley

    Thanks for your good work. I am glad you see permanent housing as a solution. Other cities have been able to raise the money to actually build apartment buildings for homeless Vets and considering the difficulty in finding affordable housing here you might look at how they did it and consider it here. Thanks John Penley USN 1972-76

  2. John Penley

    I am wondering if the city has plans for the land where they demolished the old ice house in the Art district ? Also, you might want to talk to some of the developers who are constructing new hotels and high end housing in the downtown area and see if you could get them involved in a Veterans housing project as a public service to the city and the Veterans community. Just some thoughts to consider. John Penley

    • Beth

      Thanks – all good ideas that I will pass on to our Executive team…

      • John Penley

        Another possibility about raising funds for a new apartment building for Vets would be to talk to Warren Haynes and see if you could get his help. Also, even if the money were borrowed for new construction veteran renters could pay off the loan together using their HUD-VASH vouchers to pay monthy rent on their new apartments.

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