Asheville is an eclectic city known for its food fare, arts and outdoors recreation. Yet as the population continues to flourish, several issues are becoming problematic for this small mountain oasis. As Asheville continues to expand, so does the demand for food, housing and employment. In a news article by Julia Richary that was written in the Mountain Xpress, a local newspaper in Asheville, it stated that leisure and hospitality in Asheville’s metro area is the fastest growing industry in the state, growing at a 5.7% rate in the last year (Richary, 2012).
Although this seems beneficial to Asheville’s economy, the growth is problematic because it is unbalanced by low wages.
The lack of ...view middle of the document...
However, homelessness does not discriminate; single mothers who have escaped domestic violence; veterans, chronic substance abuse users and young adults who have aged out of the foster care system and have little guidance on how to sustain in life, are prone to finding themselves homeless (ABHI, 2012). According to an article in Mountain Xpress by David Forbes, in Asheville, about 500 people experience homelessness on any given night, and more than 3,000 people experience it throughout the course of a year; 38% of them are veterans and 11% are children (Forbes, 2008). The Housing Urban Department (HUD) defines homeless as any “individual in emergency shelter, including domestic violence shelters, in transitional housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets, emergency shelters, or any places not meant for human habitation such as cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus/train station, streets, campgrounds” (HUD, 2012).
Below is a chart from the 2012 Point in Time count of the homeless population in Asheville. “The Point-in-Time Count” collects basic information on individuals who are experiencing homelessness in the community. Each year on 25th of January, these counts are conducted within a 24- hour time frame, to determine the number of people that are homeless, and to gather information about the persons experiencing homelessness (HUD, 2012). The count collects basic information on the people who are in shelters, unsheltered and/or experiencing homelessness in general.
Below is chart of the of the 2012, Point-time- count for the city Asheville:
2011 Point in Time Count Unsheltered Count Emergency Seasonal / Overflow Transitional HUD total
Adults without dependent children 82 123 33 229 467
Adults chronically homeless without dep.children 40 38 0 49 78
Homeless adults with dep. children 9 0 0 38 47
Chronic homeless adults with dependent children 2 0 0 9 2
Totals 133 161 33 325 594
In an effort to gain an understanding of how community members feel about the homeless population in Asheville, I decided to speak with three individuals who have either personally worked and/or gained some experience with the homeless population. I recently met with community member, Sally Curry. Curry is a licensed clinical social worker on the Mission’s psychiatric unit. Curry stated “We see a few homeless individuals each month. The individual’s housing status can make discharge planning more difficult than persons with a home and supportive persons in their life. Sometimes patients are well enough to be discharged to stay at the local shelters, often times it takes more resources to ensure that patients are placed in a care facility or elsewhere, where they can be provided food and their medication can be managed.”
In addition, I visited the Asheville City fire Department and spoke with James Kodaras, an Asheville city fireman. Kodaras stated, “We work with the homeless population often. There are a lot of veterans, a lot of drug...