By Irene Olds
“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.”
Looking back on 2017, Xpress highlights some of the hundreds of stories we covered in our print editions and online over the year.
Food deserts —areas where people do not have easy access to large grocery stores — can occur in both urban or rural areas. Food deserts exist in many areas of WNC, including Asheville and Hendersonville. Malnutrition that occurs in food deserts can lead to poor physical and mental health.
“Naming the history of a problem in our black community does not discount the experiences of our rural white communities. It’s not an either-or argument. It’s an “and” discussion. And white, rural communities suffer from food insecurity, too.”
“The time has come for Asheville and Buncombe County to take advantage of the Invest Health opportunity, take charge and assess the extent of poverty, examine the history behind the concentration of poverty and, most important, to identify and plan for what needs to be done and how to do it.”
Caregivers and organizations in Western North Carolina — including community health centers, acupuncturists and herbalists — are helping people without insurance receive the care they need. Indeed, many providers say access to health care is a basic human right. People in every corner of the state should be covered and have access to care, says Benjamin Money, CEO and president […]
Buncombe County is taking new steps to alleviate poverty, and it’s looking to the community for ideas. Representatives of 22 organizations attended a July 15 Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) meeting, where they learned of Buncombe’s new Request for Information (RFI) on poverty remediation. County leaders are interested in community practices to remedy poverty and are seeking information […]
Report shines light on Asheville’s housing problems, possible solutions.
At a rare joint meeting yesterday evening, Asheville City Council and the Asheville City School Board conferred on the achievement gap, mutual priorities and the thornier social issues that complicate both their jobs.
Clustered around tables in the U.S. Cellular Center banquet hall during the first day of their annual retreat, Asheville City Council and city staff deliberated everything from affordable housing to surveillance. Here are a few highlights of their discussions.
Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released an in-depth report examining the hunger and homelessness situations in 25 cities across the country, including Asheville. The report found that the city has serious issues with low wages, unaffordable housing, poverty, and the number of domestic violence survivors who end up homeless. Increases in homelessness are modest, but more families are homeless. The report also highlighted some local organizations doing “exemplary” work on the issues but predicted that coming social service cuts could make the situations on both fronts more dire.
Attendees at a “downtown summit” this afternoon expressed concern about a variety of issues, including cleanliness, the homeless, affordability, and infrastructure in Asheville’s core. The forum was organized by city staff as an effort to gather input. (Photo by Max Cooper)
A meeting originally scheduled between the Asheville Downtown Association, city of Asheville staff and Council members is now a “downtown summit” in Pack Library at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, with the public invited to attend and weigh in on the issues affecting the area.
Multiple complaints about mold, rot, and other woes at a Merrimon Avenue apartment complex earlier this year casts doubt on the ability of local governments to deal with what many see as a serious health issue, leaving tenants feeling powerless to get their grievances addressed. And with the Asheville area having some of the highest housing costs in the state and one-third of its working population earning low wages, many local renters face similar issues.
At a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, city of Asheville staff and police officers met with homeless activists and local nonprofit representatives to discuss a new law enforcement approach that focuses on more arrests in the city’s downtown. Responses varied, ranging from concerns about the impacts of a failing system to criticisms of the Asheville Police Department’s new strategy.
Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to the Council of Independent Business Owners this afternoon, asserting he was “stepping on some toes” to lower taxes and make the state run more like a business.
An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people showed up for Mountain Moral Monday this evening, filling Pack Square Park and protesting the policies of the North Carolina General Assembly. It was one of the largest demonstrations in Asheville’s recent history. Photo by Julia Ritchey.
Last year Xpress profiled Patrick Littlejohn, a formerly homeless composer who pulled himself out of poverty through music. He recently received a full scholarship to the Practical Schillinger School of Music.
Photos by Rich Orris.
It’s commonly said that housing’s hard to find in Asheville. Numbers from the U.S. Census and elsewhere shine a light on exactly how hard.
At a five-hour hearing conducted by the North Carolina Utilities Commission last night, every speaker except those representing the Council of Independent Business Owners and Biltmore Farms objected to rate hikes proposed by Progress Energy. The speakers’ reasons for opposition ranged from the impact of the rate increases on the working poor to projected environmental damage. Photo by Max Cooper