Letter writer: Who has their hands on local housing crisis?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

On Nov. 16, the city of Asheville hosted a symposium on affordable housing. What was glaringly apparent on both panels that spoke [was] there was not one person of color, women were in the minority, and no one who sat on the panel is actually living this crisis!

Interesting perspective. Those in need of affordable housing are disproportionately single mothers, women of color, seniors and the homeless folk. It was remarked over and over again that people of color are more affected by lack of good housing, and yet it was not thought to include those that the lack of affordable housing affected?

The difference between advocacy and community organizers is just that. Community organizers live in the situation, while advocates acknowledge the situation but do not live or experience it.

The need for affordable housing is real for so many of us! This is not an exercise in good deeds.

Only one person truly spoke for the people affected. Robin [Merrell] from Pisgah Legal Services said: Do we realize that people are dying from the cold while holding a housing voucher in their hands?

And my friend the Rev. Amy Cantrell of the BeLoved Community called out from the audience: Shame, shame, shame on us!

Do we realize that people are dying while we are merely talking about the need for affordable housing?

This is a crisis of epic sadness that a city that supports tourism is not willing to support its residents!

And suppose we became advocates of just economics for all, and we instituted a fair living wage? That would mean that every single worker in this city would have the opportunity to afford a reasonable place to live. Laborers who are responsible for the labor on these hotels cannot even afford to rent a place.

So I am asking: Is this an exercise in projecting good deeds, or is this for real?

Have you heard the expression “Who has their hands on it”? It means who is going to follow it through.

Who does have “their hands” truly on this crisis?

— Ariel Harris

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10 thoughts on “Letter writer: Who has their hands on local housing crisis?

  1. “and we instituted a fair living wage? ”

    How would a fair living wage be “instituted”?

    • Lulz

      LOL, as long as property owners are being tasked to upkeep the wealthy of this town via property tax theft and cronyism, it doesn’t matter what fluff and bull you pull lulz. Better to investigate the inner workings of the machine that enables six figure salaries while taking the taxpayers money LOL. Much like the evidence room at the APD was and probably still is a revolving door of corruption, those tied into local government and their handlers and associates are in the same category lulz.

  2. Jaded Local

    Welcome to Asheville where the top issue in town is not the housing crisis but a new park downtown, and where a bit demonstration was held a few days ago not to demand affordable housing but against chain stores.

    Durham, Carrboro, and Davidson have all passed laws requiring all new development include affordable housing but “progressive” Asheville has consistently refused to do so or even have a serious conversation over doing so. The Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Development Authority refuse to allow even a small portion of the hotel room tax to go to affordable housing while they and their cheerleaders at the Citizen-Times and on City Council play down any suggestion that the aggressive marketing campaigns to promote Asheville has a destination for wealthy tourists and a new home for wealthy retirees contributes anything to the escalating housing costs. Attempts to see to it that Asheville’s already limited housing stock is there for residents and not for tourists by banning short term rentals is met with outrage.

    In short we talk a good talk about affordable housing but we simply don’t have the will to do what it takes to do anything serious abut the problem. As long as those who experience this problem continue to not vote in City Council elections, such elections will be decided by the wealthy retirees and others who don’t live the problem and we will continue to have elections about parks downtown rather than affordable housing.

  3. Yep

    Yep, well folks, this is the result of many things including lack of available land, OVER regulated city government, HIGH damn taxes, and so it’s a mess. The outrageous city requirements on building a simple structure are obstructive to more housing.
    But, with decades of total progressive democrat control here, such problems now manifest themselves in greater proportion.
    With the CITY proclaiming $750 as ‘affordable’ now, I don’t think we will ever see what others perceive as affordable. To build truly affordable is to allow less restrictive construction, which the controlling progressives won’t DARE cede…

  4. NFB

    ” this is the result of many things including lack of available land,”

    Why is it that there is always “available land” for new hotels, for $800,000 house and high price condos but never for affordable housing?

    “with decades of total progressive democrat (sic) control here, such problems now manifest themselves in greater proportion.”

    Decades? During the first half of the 2000’s the Mumpower/Dunn/Worley/Ellis faction was in control. Before that we had Chris Peterson running they show with the Magnolia Machine for the first half of the 90’s. The affordable housing crisis was with us then as well.

    And what is all this nonsense about “progressives” being in control anyway? But has already been pointed out several cities in NC have passed laws REQUIRING developers including affordable housing in all developments but “progressive” Asheville had for years refused to even consider this and it is facing a far more serious crisis. Asheville City Council dare not go against the wishes of developers and the almighty Chamber of Commerce.

    As I have said before here, the notion of Asheville as some sort of liberal/progressive haven is only on the minds of those in town on the self absorbed left and the perpetually victimized right.

    • Lulz

      LOL, remember the mayor in the ’90’s who got rid of Honda Hoot lulz? Trust me when I tell you Peterson wasn’t happy about it LOL.

      • NFB

        LOL, He wasn’t happy about it because it meant business for Magnolia’s nfb. Few people on Council had self interest at top of their agenda to the degree Peterson did. Not that any of this has anything to do with the topic at hand, but nice try. LOL.

  5. Big Al

    It’s the New World order. The Black Helicopters. The Green and Grey aliens. The Trilateral Commision. The UN. The Masons. The Man. The Federal Reserve. The Intelligentsia. The Illuminati.

    It’s everyone who is in all of the clubs that you are not in. Be afraid. Nothing you can do. Might as well end it all.

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