According to the nonprofit Homeward Bound WNC, close to half of those experiencing homelessness in Buncombe County are veterans, a figure that also includes people benefiting from long-term transitional housing programs.
Terry Joe Self was one of 22 homeless and formerly homeless people in Asheville remembered at an interfaith service Dec. 19 at Haywood Street. At the climax of the ceremony, organizers read the names of the dead and lit 22 candles, each representing one of the people who died. Since 2012, the annual ceremony has honored more than 100 people.
“We must recognize that as long as we prioritize more hotels, more restaurants, more new construction (none of which is wholly bad), we must also acknowledge the consequences of those priorities — the displacement of people on the margins — and find ways to sustainably address them.”
“If your government can’t solve the problem, and they probably never will, it’s time you take matters into your own hands.”
“Why are we expecting people to be in some other circumstance without considering the system that fails them? Where’s the rope and toehold?”
“Pity is sadness for one’s misfortune and keeps you in the past, but an exchange in goods and sharing of resources moves you forward.”
“There are better ways to handle this problem, and one is already being tried in Albuquerque, N.M., under the mayorship of Richard Berry, appropriately called the Better Way program.”
Four Asheville ministers speak of their vision and understanding about what it means to help those in need. The encounter of helping another person, they say, can be transforming for both the giver and receiver and holds the potential to change the world we live in.
“If only 1 cent of every room tax was contributed to the Home Trust Fund, we would collect $1.8 million dollars per year! Think about what a difference that would make to our housing shortage!”
“Through a partnership with Homeward Bound, the city of Asheville provides support to implement the federal Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant. Homeward Bound was awarded $2.7 million in federal funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) over the next three years.”
“Some time ago, an announcement was made public that Asheville’s mayor had accepted [first lady] Michelle Obama’s challenge to end veterans’ homelessness. Since then, I have not seen or heard anything about the actual plans to do this.”
“I moved here in June from West Virginia and have fallen in love with the diversity and beauty of our area. Unfortunately, part of that diversity is a disparity of economic means.”
The scarcity of jobs in Asheville, an already difficult job horizon for LGBTQ people, as well as difficult, intolerant home situations often mean unstable housing for these WNC youths. As Asheville becomes more and more an attractive and welcoming place for LGBTQ teens and young adults in the area as well as the country, the influx compounds the homeless situation.
Just over a year ago, Cúrate co-owner Liz Button introduced an initiative to bring a fine-dining experience to the city’s homeless and food insecure. Once each month since last June, Button has brought some of Asheville’s most prominent chefs into the basement kitchen of the Haywood Street Congregation’s Welcome Table program to share their cuisine with the homeless ministry’s guests. Click through for a story and slide show from August’s Welcome Table meal with The Junction and King James Public House.
On April 8, Asheville City Council members voted unanimously to pass a resolution to adopt a Housing Trust Fund recommendation to fund Biotat LLC’s Oak Hill Commons Project, as well as an ordinance adopting the new 2014-15 Fees and Charges Manual. Council also considered a request that city officials ban circuses that use exotic animals from […]
Thanks to a “bitterly cold arctic air mass,” in the National Weather Service’s words, Ashevilleans are grappling with “the coldest temperatures in many years,” with temperatures hitting minus 2 and wind chill as low as minus 24. The NWS warns of bad roadway conditions due to ice and snow and “dangerous wind chills.” Both city and county school systems are closed today, Jan. 7, and the Red Cross has opened warming shelters in some counties.
The Asheville Downtown Association will meet with city of Asheville staff and elected officials Oct. 21 to discuss a number of issues that “can no longer be overlooked,” according to an email to its members. The issues include trash, recycling, street sweeping, panhandling, transients, drugs and topless women.
While sipping on a glass of wine or grabbing a late night coffee, residents can help fund an organization working to end homelessness locally and stopping people from spending the night in the harsh winter weather. “Every time it is cold and I go into my own house, I think, ‘It is not OK that people in our community are sleeping outside tonight,” says Emily Ball, director of community engagement at Homeward Bound of Asheville.
In a demonstration and cookout on Saturday, Dec. 22, in the River Arts District, locals will call for the city of Asheville to do something positive with an abandoned property known as the Ice House. (Photo by zen Sutherland)